Philip Holloway, How three well-educated highly-trained lawyers can achieve appointment and confirmation to the Supreme Court of the United States yet believe the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – a federal public health agency – has any legal authority whatsoever to cancel or modify a private rental contract governed by state contract law is simply beyond comprehension. If one were a cynic, one might be tempted to think politics has infected the high court.
In swiftly striking down this federal overreach, six clear-headed rational jurists laid bare the utter absurdity of the Biden administration’s legal argument. The majority point out that the Biden Administration attempts to rely on “a decades-old statute that authorizes it to implement measures like fumigation and pest extermination.” “It strains credulity to believe that this statute grants the CDC the sweeping authority that it asserts.”
See what the Biden administration does there? They try to equate CDC authority to implement fumigation and pest control to canceling lawful rental contracts. This is ludicrous. It is tantamount to the President of the United States – using power that he does not have – declaring “you may steal from your landlord. You may stay on her land as long as you wish and there’s not a damn thing she can do. I hereby suspend state eviction laws. I do this because my voting base wants me to and because I am the President.”
I wrote here – just a few weeks ago “[Biden] knows he will lose in court in the end. Everyone knows it. Even CDC Director Rochelle Walensky knows it. She is just dutifully carrying out political marching orders…”
The fact that three justices of the Supreme Court – one-third of the court – voted in favor of this absurdity is deeply unsettling. The judicial branch is supposed to be the adults in the separation-of-powers-room. The calm, quiet, intellectual ones who sit above the political fray. Unphased by the hurricane force political winds whirling around Washington DC. These are the men and women who are the guardrails of our republic – put there by our founders to serve as a robust check on executive or legislative overreach.
This abomination was known to be illegal a few weeks ago when – acting on orders from the White House no doubt, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky signed a new Eviction Moratorium despite a majority of the Supreme Court stating such was unconstitutional.
Someone(s) need to be accountable for violating their oath to support the Constitution & laws of the United States. The President of the United States surely violated his oath of office and CDC Director Walensky is a guilty accessory. The “just following orders” excuse won’t cut it Dr. Walensky. You knew it was wrong. You did not care. You did it anyway. You should resign in disgrace and fade away into the dustbin of history.
Speaking of being held accountable. Justices Sotomayor, Kagan and Breyer need to explain themselves. But they can’t. And they won’t ever have to. They serve comfortably for life. In attempting to explain himself, Justice Breyer writes in his dissent:
COVID–19 transmission rates have spiked in recent weeks, reaching levels that the CDC puts as high as last winter: 150,000 new cases per day. And then Breyer shows us a COVID19 chart.
Wow. What an amazing feat of legal analysis. The best that three justices of the highest court in the United States can do is say basically; “well the COVID19 numbers are scary looking so the President and the CDC can just to whatever they want. We will rubber-stamp whatever you want to do, no matter how many Americans’ livelihoods are wiped out. Because COVID.”
The ink is still wet on this SCOTUS ruling. Yet some in Congress are already screeching that Congress now needs to try to legalize theft.
It is true that Congress could pass a law that would turn the CDC into the Federal Bureau of Rent Control and Property Theft if it wanted to pass it. However – and purported delegation of federal power to any agency also has to pass constitutional muster. I re-read my pocket constitution this morning while writing this piece. I looked everywhere for federal authority to cancel lawful contracts (governed by state law) between a property owner and a tenant. I did not find any such authority among the enumerated powers granted to the federal government by the states.
Not only was this eviction moratorium an absurdity from the outset, it was illegal from the outset. The President of the United States knew it. The CDC Director knew it. And regardless of whether they will admit it, the three dissenting justices know it too.
The politics of the COVID10 era have now infected one-third of the Supreme Court of the United States. God help us all if that infection spreads to two more justices.