Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined the court’s three Liberals in keeping the moratorium in place.
Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett said they would have granted the waiver request.
The current moratorium was due to expire on Wednesday, but last week CDC director Dr Rochelle Walensky announced what she said was a “final” extension until July 31. In a statement, she said the pandemic presented a “historic threat to the nation’s public health” and that “keeping people in their homes and out of crowded or congregational places – such as homeless shelters – preventing evictions is a key step in helping to stop the spread of Covid-19 ”.
A group of homeowners, real estate companies and professional real estate associations have called on judges to intervene – urgently – arguing that “Congress has never given the CDC the staggering power it now claims “.
They argue that the moratorium resulted in “over $ 13 billion in unpaid rents per month.”
A district court ruled against the government, ruling the moratorium illegal, but the court then stayed its decision pending appeal. The DC Circuit refused to lift the suspension.
Acting Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar urged judges to allow the moratorium to remain in effect for now. She told judges in court documents that federal law authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services, through the CDC, to pass regulations to “prevent the introduction, transmission or spread of communicable diseases. From one state to another.
She said the moratorium on residential evictions is “temporary” and is necessary because evictions would increase the risk of the spread of Covid by forcing tenants to move into shared apartments or become homeless.
On Thursday night, she wrote a letter to let the judges know about the new expansion. Prelogar said the order had been extended beyond June 30 to avoid a “wave of evictions” which she said could amount to “hundreds of thousands” this summer and early fall. .
As he often does, Kavanaugh wrote to explain why he voted to keep the moratorium. On the one hand, he said he agreed with the district court that the CDC had exceeded its statutory authority by declaring a nationwide moratorium.
But, he said, because the CDC said it would end the moratorium in a few weeks, it would allow it to stay in place. He said the extra weeks “will allow for an additional and more orderly distribution of the appropriate rent assistance funds by Congress.”
Kavanaugh, however, said that if the government were to extend the moratorium beyond July 31, it would need “specific congressional authorization.”
This story has been updated with additional details.