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Federal judge sets CDC eviction moratorium in place

U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich stated that her "hands were tied" by an appeals decision, which was made after the last court considered the spring evictions moratorium.

Alabama landlords who challenge the Oct. 3 moratorium are likely to appeal her decision.

The new moratorium that was imposed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in response to COVID-19 raised questions last week. President Joe Biden admitted this. He said that a court battle over the new order would allow for some time to distribute the $45 billion of rental assistance, which has been approved but is not yet used. According to the Treasury Department, only $3 billion of the $25 billion first slice was distributed by June.

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.

Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, stated in a statement that the administration believes that the CDC moratorium was legal. Psaki stated that while the district court lifted the moratorium, she was pleased and aware of the possibility of further proceedings.

Friedrich was appointed by President Donald Trump and wrote that the CDC's temporary ban on evictions was substantially the same as the one she ruled illegal in May. Freidrich stopped her ruling to give the Biden administration the opportunity to appeal.

She said that she will follow the ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit, this time. President Barack Obama appointed a panel of three judges to reject the landlords' request to enforce Friedrich’s ruling and allow evictions resume. They stated that the CDC moratorium is covered by a 1944 law that deals with public health emergencies.

If the D.C. If the D.C. Circuit does not give landlords what they want, they can seek Supreme Court involvement.

In late June, the high court refused by a 5-4 vote to allow evictions to resume. Justice Brett Kavanaugh was part of the small majority that voted to retain the moratorium as it expires at the end July.

Kavanaugh wrote in a one-paragraph opinion that he would reject any additional extension without a new, clear authorization from Congress, which has not been able to take action.

Biden and his aides initially stated that they couldn't extend the ban on evictions beyond July due to Kavanaugh's writing. But facing pressure from liberals in Congress, the administration devised a new order that it argued was sufficiently different.

The old moratorium was in effect nationwide. The current order is in effect for areas where the coronavirus is transmitted.

But Friedrich noted the moratorium covers "roughly ninety-one percent of U.S. counties," citing the CDC's COVID-19 data tracker.

She wrote that "the minor differences between the previous and current moratoria don't exempt the former form this Court's orders," that the CDC does not have the authority to ban evictions temporarily.

She also pointed out that Kavanaugh's opinion, as well as other court decisions that either questioned the earlier moratorium or found it illegal, raises doubts about D.C. Circuit decision.

Friedrich stated that "For this reason, in the absence of the D.C. Circuit’s judgment, the Court would vacate stay" and allow evictions resume. She said that she was not allowed to do so.

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