A federal judge ruled that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention overstepped its authority in issuing a nationwide eviction ban. The ruling is a victory for a group of Ohio landlords and the National Association of Home Builders, who challenged the moratorium in October.
The decision in Skyworks v. Centers for Disease Control allows evictions to resume, restoring the landlords’ rights to remove tenants who don’t honor their lease obligation to pay rent.
“This is a victory for the rule of law,” said Steve Simpson, a senior attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation, which represented the landlords. “This decision makes clear that federal agencies can’t exercise power Congress has not given them. Now our clients no longer have to provide housing for free.”
Judge Philip Calabrese’s declaratory judgment held that the CDC lacks the statutory authority to promulgate the eviction ban, writing, “Without question, effective pandemic response depends on the judgment of reliable science—not political science. But that obvious truism does not empower agencies or their officials to exceed the mandate Congress gives them.”
Another PLF case challenging the CDC’s moratorium—Chambless v. CDC—is on appeal to the 5th Circuit. Another case against the CDC, litigated by Texas Public Policy Foundation and Southeastern Legal Foundation, received a favorable ruling from a district court judge. A case litigated by the New Civil Liberties Alliance is on appeal at the 11th Circuit.