On Thursday evening, the US Supreme Court lifted the ban on evictions of tenants scheduled until October, ending protections granted to millions of people in financial hardship in the midst of the pandemic.
The highest US court sided with homeowners who claimed to be victims of unjustified measures and argued that any further renewal of the moratorium should be decided by Congress and not by health officials – who until now have been the source of these actions.
The first moratorium on tenant evictions was decided in 2020, when the United States was hit hard by the pandemic, and an astounding unemployment rate.
When the ban expired at the end of July, President Biden’s administration urged US parliamentarians to pass urgent legislation to extend it. What elected officials failed to do before Congress stopped working for the summer recess.
Under pressure from his party’s left wing, the health authorities in the Biden administration ended up ordering a new freeze. They relied on the risks to public health to justify their decision.
It swept the Supreme Court, with a conservative majority, in a fifteen-page argument: “If the moratorium on evictions imposed by federal authorities is to be sustained, Congress must specifically authorize it.”
The White House immediately expressed its “disappointment.”
“Because of this decision, families will have to face painful evictions, and communities across the country will face an increased risk of exposure to Covid-19,” US President’s spokesperson, Jen Psaki, lamented.
“President Biden once again calls on all capable entities – from cities and states to local courts, landlords and ministerial agencies – to act urgently to prevent evictions,” she added.
The US executive expected the moratorium to be challenged in court, but had hoped it would allow additional time to pay renters money meant to help them pay their rent, but their payments have slowed dramatically – including due to bureaucracy.
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