|President Joe Biden may have averted a flood of evictions and solved a growing political problem when his administration reinstated a temporary ban on evictions because of the COVID-19 crisis. But he left his lawyers with legal arguments that even he acknowledges might not stand up in court.
The new eviction moratorium announced Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could run into opposition at the Supreme Court, where one justice in late June warned the administration not to act further without explicit congressional approval.
Landlords from Alabama whose bid to lift the earlier pause on evictions failed returned to federal court in Washington late Wednesday, asking for an order that would allow evictions to resume.
The administration is counting on differences between the new order, scheduled to last until Oct. 3, and the eviction pause that lapsed over the weekend to bolster its legal case. At the very least, as Biden himself said, the new moratorium will buy some time to protect the estimated 3.6 million Americans who could face eviction from their homes.
Some legal scholars who doubt the new eviction ban will stand up say its legal underpinnings are strikingly similar to the old one.
“Meet the new moratorium, same as the old moratorium!” Ilya Somin, a George Mason University law professor who backed Biden over former President Donald Trump last year, wrote on Reason.com.