The Supreme Court issued an order last week that finally stuck the knife in the legality of President Joe Biden’s executive decision to extend the eviction moratorium imposed against landlords around the nation. The administration justified the suspension as a COVID relief measure that would somehow reduce the likelihood of transmission of the virus.
A 6-3 majority of the Court said that using a 1940s law that provides for certain practices intended to stop the spread of disease from taking away property owners’ rights without compensation “strained credulity.”
Last week at The Federalist, Christopher Bedford wrote that the left in America thinks that its power is “essentially limitless” and should be constrained solely at the “discretion of the bureaucracy itself.”
The three liberal justices, Stephen Breyer, Sonya Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan, all joined the dissent and agreed on their view of the public health law in question.
That 1944 law provides that the U.S. Surgeon General may provide for the inspection, fumigation, and destruction of animals or things found to be contaminated and sources of infections that harm human health. As Bedford stated, the law as written has precisely nothing to do with allowing renters to remain in leased property without paying rent.
Breyer wrote the dissenting opinion and appeared to believe that if Congress had not wanted the president to be able to use the law to stop the payment of rent, it would have said so. In other words, by not listing out every possible exception to the COVID powers delegated to the president, all forces must necessarily be implied.
Even though the COVID pandemic’s lockdowns have largely gone by the boards and the U.S. economy is getting back to speed, Breyer said people put themselves at risk of illness and death by going to work.
In conjuring up power that Congress “must” have meant to grant, Breyer overlooks the harm to property owners who are deprived of the use of their land.
Breyer notes that COVID has given the bureaucracy virtually unchecked power over school closings, masking mandates, lockdowns. Unsurprisingly, the federal government and leftist activist judges see no limits in the law or the Constitution.