A federal judge on Wednesday vacated a nationwide freeze on evictions that was put in place by federal health officials to help cash-strapped renters remain in their homes during the pandemic.
The ruling was a win for a coalition of property owners and realtors, who brought one of several challenges against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) eviction moratorium, which was put in place under former President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump’s Facebook ban to stay in place, board rules Trump allies launching nonprofit focused on voter fraud DOJ asks for outside lawyer to review Giuliani evidence MORE and later extended through June.
In a 20-page ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich, who was appointed by Trump, ruled that the agency exceeded its authority by putting in place the temporary eviction ban.
“The question for the Court is a narrow one: Does the Public Health Service Act grant the CDC the legal authority to impose a nationwide eviction moratorium? It does not,” Friedrich wrote.
A number of other judges have ruled on the eviction ban’s lawfulness, with landlords holding a slight advantage in its win-loss record against the federal government.
But while some judges have limited the scope of their rulings to apply only to the parties involved in the particular lawsuits before them, Friedrich rebuffed the federal government’s request that she narrow the effect of her decision, indicating its reach would be nationwide.
“The Department urges the Court to limit any vacatur order to the plaintiffs with standing before this Court. This position is at odds with settled precedent,” she wrote, citing prior court rulings.
The Department of Justice, which represents the CDC in legal disputes, was not immediately available for comment.
Luke Wake, an attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation, which represents landlords in a number of related lawsuits, called the ruling a clear signal that the tide has turned against the CDC.
“The challengers have been right all along,” he said. “The government has no authority against any landlord. Full stop.”
-Updated 11:50 a.m.
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