Supreme Court Strikes Down New York Anti-Eviction Law
WASHINGTON — Federal courts continued their struggle with state and federal eviction moratoriums in separate rulings Thursday and Friday.
A federal judge in Washington ruled Friday that her “hands are tied” to halt the federal eviction moratorium that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention extended to Oct. 3.
The judge said the CDC’s moratorium was backed up by a previous appellate court ruling that she could not overturn. Alabama landlords who challenged it plan an appeal.
The Biden administration responded to the Friday ruling with a statement that called the CDC moratorium “a proper use of its lawful authority to protect the public health.”
The statement added, ”The president continues to call on state and local elected officials and judges to issue local eviction moratoriums and move aggressively to distribute the $46.5 billion in emergency rental assistance funds” approved by Congress.
On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court granted an injunction blocking enforcement of a New York anti-eviction law in a move that threatens similar laws in other states.
The Court said a provision allowing tenants to self-confirm their pandemic-related hardship to prevent eviction violates landlords’ due process rights.
Until the Supreme Court ruling, New York’s COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act would have allowed most tenants to avoid eviction if they fill out hardship forms.
The Supreme Court’s decision that strikes down the validity of the provision will allow landlords to evict non-paying tenants who completed the forms.
The state law “generally precludes” landlords from contesting hardship claims and therefore denies them a constitutional right to a hearing, the decision said.
“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 justices wrote in the majority’s opinion.
The ruling comes while the New York State Assembly was preparing to vote on a bill that would have extended the anti-eviction law through the end of October.
New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who is scheduled to take over as governor in less than two weeks, wrote in a tweet Thursday night that she looks “forward to working with the Legislature to quickly address the Supreme Court’s decision & strengthen the eviction moratorium legislation.”
She added in a statement, “No New Yorker who has been financially hit or displaced by the pandemic should be forced out of their home.”
However, the Supreme Court’s ruling that invalidates the self-authenticated hardship rule presents big obstacles for Hochul and her supporters.
Justice Stephen Breyer dissented in the ruling. He said the state eviction moratorium did not represent a denial of due process rights for landlords, merely a short-term delay.
He also urged compassion for tenants impoverished by layoffs or business losses as they face a “grave and unpredictable public health crisis.”
“The legislature does not enjoy unlimited discretion,” Breyer wrote. “… but in this case, I would not second-guess politically accountable officials’ determination of how best to ‘guard and protect’ the people of New York.”
More than 830,000 New Yorkers owe back rent, according to researchers at the public policy foundation National Atlas Equity.
Nationwide more than 7.4 million households were behind on rent by the end of June, according to a U.S. Census Bureau survey. Among them, about three million households risk eviction.
This week, the Biden administration continued its push to convince state and local governments to send federal emergency rental assistance to at-risk families. Another part of the effort is an outreach to local courts asking them to inform renters of their rights and to encourage mediation with landlords on payments.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland met with about 35 state chief justices Wednesday to discuss how to avoid an eviction crisis.
In The News
WASHINGTON —The Supreme Court on Monday asked the solicitor general’s office to weigh in on a dispute over which courts... Read More
WASHINGTON —The Supreme Court on Monday asked the solicitor general’s office to weigh in on a dispute over which courts — state or federal — can hear climate litigation against fossil fuel companies. The request comes as the justices consider whether to review a 10th U.S.... Read More
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court opens its new term on Monday with a new justice — Ketanji Brown Jackson —... Read More
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court opens its new term on Monday with a new justice — Ketanji Brown Jackson — among its members and, for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, hearing oral arguments live in the courtroom. In a brief press... Read More
Across the ideological spectrum, there were predictions of dramatic consequences when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of a... Read More
Across the ideological spectrum, there were predictions of dramatic consequences when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of a public high school football coach’s right to pray on the field after games. Yet three months after the decision — and well into the football season... Read More
WASHINGTON — The legal fight isn’t over after the U.S. Supreme Court this week declined to overturn a state court... Read More
WASHINGTON — The legal fight isn’t over after the U.S. Supreme Court this week declined to overturn a state court order requiring New York’s Yeshiva University to give official recognition to a student gay rights group. The university said the court order trampled its First Amendment... Read More
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Chief Justice John Roberts revealed Friday night that the public will be allowed back into the... Read More
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Chief Justice John Roberts revealed Friday night that the public will be allowed back into the Supreme Court building to hear oral arguments when the justices return to work in October. Roberts made the announcement, which has yet to be posted on... Read More
WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Monday told the U.S. Supreme Court to let Congress decide the citizenship of residents... Read More
WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Monday told the U.S. Supreme Court to let Congress decide the citizenship of residents of U.S. territories rather than intervening with a court ruling. The U.S. solicitor general informed the Supreme Court of the Biden administration’s advice in a legal... Read More