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US appeals court rejects to lift CDC's eviction moratorium

Federal appeals court Friday said that evictions intended to stop the spread of coronavirus could be halted for the moment. This sets up a fight before the nation’s highest court.

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US appeals court rejects to lift CDC's eviction moratorium

The U.S. Court of Appeals for Washington rejected a request by Georgia and Alabama landlords to stop the eviction moratorium that was reinstated earlier in the month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Patrick Newton, spokesperson for the National Association of Realtors, stated that the landlords intend to file an emergency motion to go to the Supreme Court immediately.

"With a majority on the Supreme Court agreeing that any extension to this eviction moratorium must be authorized by Congress, we are confident in a quick resolution," he stated in an emailed statement.

The panel stated in a brief written decision that the appeals court had rejected another bid, and that a lower court declined to reverse the moratorium.

The judges stated in the ruling that "in view of that decision, and on the record before them, we likewise reject the emergency motion directed at this court."

The Supreme Court voted 5-4 in June to allow the moratorium to continue through the end of July. Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who was part of the majority, warned the administration to not act further without congressional approval.

On July 31, the Biden administration let an earlier moratorium expire, claiming that it did not have legal authority to permit it to continue. The CDC issued a new moratorium a few days later, as lawmakers and others demanded that vulnerable renters be allowed to remain in their homes during the coronavirus's delta variant surge. The moratorium expires Oct. 3.

According to the Census Bureau's Household Pulse Survey, approximately 3.5 million Americans faced eviction within the next two-months as of August 2.

Temporarily, the new moratorium would stop evictions from counties with "substantial or high levels" virus transmissions. It would also cover areas where 90% of America's population lives.

In order to prevent people from living in cramped conditions, such as homeless shelters, the Trump administration put in place a nationwide eviction moratorium last year.

The legality of the new freeze on evictions was questioned by President Joe Biden. He said that a court battle over the new order could buy time for distribution of some of more than $45 Billion in rental assistance, which has been approved but is not yet used.

The Biden administration urged the appeals court not to lift the ban. This was because the landscape had changed following the Supreme Court ruling due to the spread of the contagious delta variant.

Biden's administration was accused by the landlords of succumbing to political pressure and reinstating a moratorium despite knowing it was illegal.

Their attorneys stated in court documents that "the President has admitted, the CDC's newest extension is nothing more than a delay tactic intended to buy time for renting assistance."

An earlier court judge ruled that the freeze was illegal. However, she rejected the landlords' request for the lifting of the moratorium. She said her hands were tied by an appeals decision which was made from the spring when courts had considered the evictions moratorium.

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