On Saturday, the US Department of Justice said it will appeal a judge’s ruling that a nationwide halt to evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic is illegal.
The measure authorized by Congress and promulgated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention covers most housing evictions in an effort to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A federal judge in Texas ruled Thursday that Congress does not have the power to authorize a moratorium under the US Constitution.
Acting Attorney General Brian Boynton said in a statement that in addition to the health benefits, the moratorium “protects many tenants who are unable to make their monthly payments due to job loss or health care expenses.”
Along with a group of landlords and landlords contesting the eviction freeze, US District Judge J. Campbell Parker ruled that Congress has overstepped its authority under two provisions of the Constitution.
Boynton noted that the judge’s ruling only applies to plaintiffs who filed a lawsuit in that particular case, meaning that the moratorium is still in effect everywhere else.
The freeze order was issued in September under President Donald Trump and extended on January 21, the day after President Joe Biden took office, to serve for at least another two months.