On March 10, NAHB won a key legal decision when the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio ruled that by issuing a nationwide eviction moratorium the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC) exceeded the authority Congress had granted it.
NAHB had filed suit in the district court along with Monarch Investment Management Group and Skyworks, Ltd. regarding what we asserted was the lack of authority of the CDC to issue an eviction moratorium. NAHB was also assisted by the Sterling Group, who provided an affidavit illustrating the harm caused by this moratorium.
The ruling in the case, entitled Skyworks, Ltd., et al. v. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, et al., sets a great precedent against government overreach.
The court addressed two legal questions: 1) did Congress provide the CDC with the authority to issue a nationwide eviction moratorium in section 361 of the Public Health Services Act, and 2) did Congress later ratify the CDC’s moratorium in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021?
With respect to the first question, the court found the statute was clear.
“Because the Court determines that the statute is unambiguous and, by issuing a nationwide eviction moratorium, CDC exceeded the authority Congress gave it in Section 361, the Court holds that action unlawful and sets it aside, as the APA [Administrative Procedures Act] requires,” the court ruling stated.
On the second question, the judge explained that all Congress did was extend the moratorium, but never reviewed CDC’s authority to issue the order and certainly never ratified it.
The government is now in a very difficult position because the court made clear that it was setting aside the eviction moratorium order under the APA.
At this point, it is unclear whether the federal government will seek to limit the decision only to the plaintiffs involved, or to Ohio.