Judge Deals Blow to the Nationwide Eviction Moratorium

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Posted: Feb 25, 2021 8:30 PM
Judge Deals Blow to the Nationwide Eviction Moratorium

Source: AP Photo/Gillian Flaccus

Who knew the feds telling property owners they couldn't kick out tenants who didn't pay their rent might be unconstitutional? A federal judge in Texas did, ruling on Thursday that the CDC's eviction moratorium violated the U.S. Constitution. 

"Although the COVID-19 pandemic persists, so does the Constitution," wrote Judge Barker in a 21-page opinion. 

Instituted under President Trump, the moratorium on evictions made it a crime for landlords to evict certain tenants who are unable to pay rent during the pandemic. President Biden and Congress extended the moratorium through March.

At question in the case was whether or not a nationwide eviction moratorium violated the limited powers of the federal government. The judge found that it did, noting the federal government has never claimed such a broad power throughout the nation's history until last year. 

"The absence of an historical analog here calls to mind the Supreme Court’s instruction that '[p]erhaps the most telling indication of [a] severe constitutional problem ... is the lack of historical precedent,'" Judge Barker wrote in his opinion. 

The case did not consider whether the states had the power to regulate residential evictions, something the judge acknowledges has long taken place.

Legal experts expect the case to be appealed to the Texas-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, The Hill reported.  

Placing a moratorium on evictions seems like an unconstitutional "solution" to an unconstitutional problem, that problem being the unprecedented lockdowns.