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Supreme Court partially lifts New York's eviction moratorium

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 8/13/2021 Jeremy Beaman
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The United States Supreme Court lifted part of New York state's pandemic eviction moratorium on Thursday, siding with a group of landlords who say they've been significantly harmed by the law.

An unnamed majority of justices voted to pause a single provision of the COVID Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act passed by the New York Legislature late last year. The overturned provision prevented a landlord from contesting a tenant's self-certification of financial hardship and denied the property owner a court hearing.

"This scheme violates the Court’s longstanding teaching that ordinarily 'no man can be a judge in his own case' consistent with the Due Process Clause," the court wrote in its unsigned order.


The three justices appointed to the court by Democratic presidents, Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor, dissented from the decision to grant emergency injunctive relief for the city's landlords.

"While applicants correctly point out that there are landlords who suffer hardship, we must balance against the landlords' hardship the hardship to New York tenants who have relied on [the act's] protections and will now be forced to face eviction proceedings earlier than expected," Breyer wrote in the dissent.

Breyer added that the law in question is set to expire in less than three weeks, saying that to grant relief in such a time frame under court precedent would require an "indisputably clear" demonstration of the legal rights at issue.

The dissent also noted that New York is in the process of distributing some $2.7 billion in aid that landlords may access to pay back rent.

A similar legal fight between landlords and the federal government over the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's pandemic eviction moratorium unfolded in recent months, with landlords and tenants both winning partial successes in the high court earlier in the summer.

On June 29, the court elected to leave the federal moratorium in place through July 31. Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote in a concurrence that the pending expiration of the government's order was one reason he supported allowing the moratorium to expire, despite his belief that CDC exceeded its authority in ordering it.

Kavanaugh asserted further action would require congressional authorization.

"In my view, clear and specific congressional authorization (via new legislation) would be necessary for the CDC to extend the moratorium past July 31," the Trump appointee wrote in his concurrence.


The Biden administration has since instituted a new federal eviction moratorium, following pressure from Democratic officials, including Rep. Cori Bush, who weeks ago camped outside the Capitol in protest to the moratorium's expected July 31 expiration, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Landlord groups have since filed suit against the Department of Health and Human Services in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, seeking enforcement of the Supreme Court's June 29 ruling and to vacate the stay pending the appeal.


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Tags: News, Supreme Court, New York, Housing, State Legislatures, Coronavirus

Original Author: Jeremy Beaman

Original Location: Supreme Court partially lifts New York's eviction moratorium


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