Reversing Moratorium, SCOTUS Just Threw 15 Million Out Into the Street

This has been a whirlwind August for renters, particularly those behind on their rent.

At the beginning of the month, the federal eviction moratorium in place since September lapsed, leaving 15 million Americans facing possible homelessness.

Then, just as most had barely enough time to digest the news, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced it would extend the moratorium through October 3.

On Thursday, the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decided to once again cancel it.

Siding with a coalition of landlords and real estate trade groups in Alabama and Georgia arguing the CDC did not have the authority to carry out the ban were the six conservative justices Roberts, Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett.

The three liberal justices–Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan–dissented.

In his dissent, Justice Breyer argued the case’s outcome was not as obvious as his colleagues in the majority suggested, and the court was not justified in canceling the moratorium so quickly when COVID-19 cases are surging.

He explained:

“The public interest strongly favors respecting the CDC’s judgment at this moment, when over 90 percent of counties are experiencing high transmission rates.”

As the Associated Press reported:

“The latest moratorium covered nearly 92% of U.S. counties–those deemed to have ‘substantial’ and ‘high’ levels of coronavirus transmission.”

In response, the White House, disappointed with the decision, repeated its initial urgent plea to state and local governments to disburse federal aid to spare a third of the country from impending evictions over the upcoming month as kids all over America–many of whom will be evicted with their caregivers–are returning to school.

Image credit: Aaron Sousa via Unsplash

Ted Millar is writer and teacher. His work has been featured in myriad literary journals, including Better Than Starbucks, The Broke Bohemian, Straight Forward Poetry, Caesura, Circle Show, Cactus Heart, Third Wednesday, and The Voices Project. He is also a contributor to The Left Place blog on Substack, Liberal Nation Rising, and Medium.