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Lewis Morris / August 5, 2021

Biden’s Unconstitutional Eviction Moratorium

The POTUS extension is a flagrant abuse of constitutional rule of law, and it should not stand.

“If you can’t get the votes … you can’t [legislate] by executive order unless you’re a dictator. We’re a democracy. We need consensus.” —Joe Biden in October

Biden has caved to the radical leftists running the Democrat Party, giving them what amounts to a major political victory this week. Reversing an earlier decision, the president announced Tuesday that he will (unconstitutionally and illegally) extend the home rental eviction moratorium until October 3. Heck, even Biden admitted while extending it that the moratorium is “not likely to pass constitutional muster.” It already didn’t in court. (More on that below.) Biden has flagrantly violated his constitutional oath “to support and defend” our Constitution and the Rule of Law it enshrines.

If anyone was puzzled about who’s pulling the strings at the White House, they weren’t paying attention.

When the China Virus lockdown began wrecking the economy last year, Congress passed a temporary moratorium on home rental evictions to protect those who had lost their jobs due to the tanking economy. Which, if you’re keeping score, tanked because of the aforementioned lockdown.

The charitable view is that it was a well-intentioned measure to help less fortunate tenants. (Never mind how shredding rental contracts hurt cash-strapped landlords.) Well over a year later, however, it should be obvious to everyone that it was always a power move that amounted to state-sanctioned theft.

Congress’s temporary eviction moratorium ended in July 2020, but President Donald Trump called on the Centers for Disease Control to weigh in. Interpreting a broad spectrum of authority not previously thought possible, the CDC — an agency tasked with studying and containing infectious diseases — issued a temporary moratorium on rental evictions that was renewed three times by both Trump and Biden.

On June 29, the Supreme Court finally stepped in and … sidestepped the real constitutional issue. Though Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote that the CDC had “exceeded its existing statutory authority,” he reluctantly let the moratorium stand, because, he said, it would end “in only a few weeks” anyway. But he explicitly stated that after the CDC eviction moratorium ended on July 31, “clear and specific congressional authorization (via new legislation) would be necessary” to renew it.

Well, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi didn’t have enough Democrat votes to pass a new moratorium. So she called on the White House to reinstitute the ban through executive action, which Biden initially refused. The CDC was reaching way outside its purview in the first place, and White House lawyers wisely advised the president that neither he nor the CDC had the legal authority to institute a new eviction ban.

The White House first turned to the states, which have been sitting on billions of dollars in aid to help tenants pay their rent — $25 billion from Trump in December, and another $21.5 billion from Biden in March. Less than 10% of that money has been distributed. Only 36 of 400 state, county, and municipal recipients report having spent the funds. This should be more than enough to cover the nationwide rental backlog, which Moody’s recently estimated at $27 billion.

Leftists don’t give a rat’s rear end about constitutionality and Rule of Law. All they crave is absolute power, so the whole argument about legal authority blows like so much wind between their ears. They accused Biden of dragging his feet over what they label a crisis that could put millions of people out on the street. The so-called “Squad” even camped out on the Capitol steps to draw attention to their message. They want the moratorium continued until they are satisfied the economy is stronger. How much stronger, none of the Squad members will say, though their policies will only make it weaker.

In the end, it doesn’t matter. Biden caved, dipped back into the totalitarian toolbox, and issued a lawless decree he publicly admitted he didn’t have the legal authority to make. The rationale is that Biden is hoping to stir the states to start spreading money around before the courts move in and shut down the moratorium. Whatever his “good intentions,” he has knowingly and willfully violated the Constitution and his oath to protect it.

This is no way to run a government. Again, it’s an arguably well-intentioned action to protect tenants from eviction because they lost their job due to a nationwide health emergency. But government meddling in the economy never produces good results. In this case, it threatens to bankrupt millions of property owners. It also means fewer prospective landlords will buy property or build housing.

Meanwhile, it creates a permanent underclass of renters who live on taxpayer money. For them, this amounts to an extension of “unemployment” checks. If you don’t have to pay rent, why go back to work?

We all know which road is paved smooth with good intentions. The unconstitutional rental moratorium is good for a few miles on that bad road.

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