Biden's CDC to impose rent moratorium extension that he admits is probably unconstitutional
In a presidency characterized by incoherent ramblings, the events yesterday represent a new level of muddle-headedness. Congress failed to extend the rent moratorium that expired August 1, and the Supreme Court already has indicated that an extension would be unconstitutional. But yesterday, President Biden pretended that the CDC is not under his control and swept aside the bulk of constitutional scholarship, as the Washington Post reported:
In remarks to reporters shortly before the CDC made its announcement, Biden acknowledged that the move was likely to be subject to court challenge and appeared to express doubt about the legality of the move. He even said scholars he consulted felt the measure was probably not constitutional.
"I have been informed [the CDC is] about to make a judgment as to potential other options. Whether that option will pass constitutional measure with this administration, I can't tell you. I don't know," Biden said. "The bulk of the constitutional scholarship says that it's not likely to pass constitutional muster. ... But there are several key scholars who think that it may and it's worth the effort."
You can watch him do so for yourself:
National Review's headline is apropos:
And so is Jesse Kelly's sardonic and frightening summation in Twitter:
“What Biden is doing is against the law!”— Jesse Kelly (@JesseKellyDC) August 3, 2021
Well, yeah. Stop living in a world of make believe. We live in a post-law country now. The law is whatever they decide.
“Do not quote laws to men with swords.” -Pompey Magnus
The purported health threat of the delta variant is the excuse being offered for the complete abrogation of the rule of law, but ABC News, no right-wing outlet, was more realistic:
Under heavy pressure from progressive Democrats to extend the eviction moratorium as millions of Americans faced being forced out of their homes, President Joe Biden on Tuesday said his administration would announce a new "safety valve" action.
Keep in mind that the CDC has no legal authority to create criminal law, yet it is imposing draconian penalties on landlords who violate its ukase:
The new 60-day CDC eviction moratorium carries steep criminal penalties for individual landlords who break the law:— Joseph Zeballos-Roig (@josephzeballos) August 3, 2021
- Potential $100k fine and 1 year in jail if eviction doesn't result in death
- Up to $250k fine and 1 year in jail if evicted person dieshttps://t.co/d0KRACRFUy pic.twitter.com/MVnUQDJQGD
You can read the 19-page document signed by CDC head Rochelle Walensky, already a national joke for her self-contradictory statements, here.
Paul Mirengoff asks:
Has any previous president ever made a decision that he publicly acknowledged was probably unconstitutional? It seems unlikely, inasmuch as all presidents swear an oath to defend the Constitution.
And he adds:
In addition to being illegal, the administration's ban is terrible policy. The alleged health rationale doesn't justify the policy. People facing eviction can protect themselves against serious illness due to the coronavirus, including its variants, by getting vaccinated. Once vaccinated, the risk to them of death or serious sickness due to covid does not appear to be greater than the same risks to the homeless during the flu season.
We don't ban evictions during the flu season. At least, we haven't in the past. I suppose everything is up for grabs now.
Nor is there an economic justification for banning evictions. A year ago, there was a case. Unemployment was staggeringly high and in many jurisdictions people were essentially required to stay home.
A friend who is in the rental property business worries that once the moratorium expires (if ever), tenants will simply move, leaving landlords with uncollectable debts that will never be repaid. And, because rents are the cash flow that enables landlords to service their mortgage debt, defaults will cascade through the economy. Remember when that happened in 2008?
Photo credit: YouTube screen grab.
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