The Supreme Court has delivered another surprising result, continuing to defy expectations some had for the heavily conservative-appointed bench. On Wednesday, the court declined to strike down the ongoing federal moratorium on evictions. The eviction moratorium was set in place in March of 2020 as a way to combat the rise in unemployment during the ongoing global medical situation.
Interestingly, though the court ruled 5-4 in favor of keeping the ban in place, it is already set to expire in July. Justice Brett Kavanaugh noted that his reasoning for his vote was more complicated than simply wanting to see the ban stay in place. While the Justice feels the moratorium is illegal, he argued that, since it is expiring soon, it’s not the Supreme Court’s place to strike it down.
The eviction ban has been a lifeline for some who lost their jobs last year even as it has infuriated landlords. Last summer, social media posts featuring strongly-worded letters from landlords went viral, with some landlords promising tenants who were behind on their rent that they’d be evicted as soon as it was legal to kick them out.
The ban had two major purposes: the first was, naturally, to keep people in homes so it would be easier for them to get a job as soon as they were able to. The other purpose of the ban was to keep the medical situation from spilling over into a housing crisis that would see thousands of Americans gathering in shelters. The last thing the government wants during a medical crisis is a large number of people crowded into homeless shelters.
The Supreme Court case dealt with the ban’s origins. Originally, the moratorium was issued by the CDC, which caused some opponents to the law to argue that it was actually an illegal ban. In May, a US district court ruled that the CDC actually didn’t have the authority to issue such a moratorium. Justice Kavanaugh agreed, as did four justices who believed the law should be struck down. In spite of his viewpoint, however, Kavanaugh sided with the majority to keep the ban in place.
Chief Justice John Roberts, as well as Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Stephen Breyer comprised the majority along with Kavanaugh. The decision will keep millions of Americans in their homes through the end of July. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, over 6 million homes are behind on their rent.