Federal court upholds CDC’s eviction moratorium

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A U.S. district court judge on Friday denied an effort to block the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from imposing a new eviction moratorium, citing a past appeals court ruling.

The Alabama Association of Realtors and other property owners had asked Judge Dabney Friedrich to put the moratorium on hold. Friedrich said she was bound by a past appeals court ruling that said the CDC could enforce the measure as a public health measure.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 earlier this summer to allow the CDC moratorium to stand, but Justice Brett Kavanaugh said he would not support it again if it was extended past July 31 without any support from Congress.

The CDC moved ahead to extending the moratorium last week after Congress declined to step in, prompting the group of property owners to return to court.

“The Supreme Court did not issue a controlling opinion in this case, and circuit precedent provides that the votes of dissenting justices may not be combined with that of a concurring justice to create binding law,” Friedrich said in her 13-page ruling, adding that the property owners will have to seek relief in the appeals court.

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The CDC last week issued a new eviction moratorium for parts of the country experiencing high transmission of the coronavirus. The target moratorium applies to counties experiencing “substantial and high” levels of community transmission of COVID-19 as defined by the CDC and will be effective until Oct. 3.

“In the context of a pandemic, eviction moratoria –like quarantine, isolation and social distancing — can be an effective public health measure utilized to prevent the spread of communicable disease,” the CDC said about extending the moratorium.


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