On August 26, 2021, in a 6-3 per curiam opinion, Alabama Ass’n of Realtors v Department of Health and Human Servs, No 21A23, ___ US ___ (Aug 26, 2021), the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia’s decision to lift the stay of its judgment holding that the temporary eviction moratorium issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was unlawful. That holding blocks the CDC’s ban on residential evictions, which had been entered on August 3, 2021, and banned residential evictions under certain circumstances through October 3, 2021.
The court held that the statute the CDC had relied on in issuing the orders, 42 USC 264(a), did not authorize the ban. Instead, according to the court, that statute authorized inspection, fumigation, extermination, and other activities that directly relate to preventing the spread of disease or destroying the disease itself. The court stated that the equities do not justify depriving the applicants of the district court’s judgment in their favor. “The moratorium has put the applicants, along with millions of landlords across the country, at risk of irreparable harm by depriving them of rent payments with no guarantee of eventual recovery.”
The court concluded, “If a federally imposed eviction moratorium is to continue, Congress must specifically authorize it.”