Philip Holloway, “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
This is the presidential Oath of Office as prescribed by Article II of the Constitution of the United States. It has been sworn or affirmed to by every president. Many presidents have ignored or violated this oath but none so blatantly as Joe Biden did when he extended the clearly unconstitutional (and controversial) so-called “eviction moratorium” enacted through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As recently as July 29, the White House admitted the CDC’s order was illegal. In a written statement the White House lamented being powerless to extend the moratorium – stating in part “Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has made clear that this option is no longer available.”
The White House was referring to the 5-4 decision in Alabama Association of Realtors v. HHS. This widely-ridiculed ruling allowed the previous CDC moratorium to remain intact through the end of July 2021despite a majority of the court agreeing the CDC action exceeded its legal authority. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Kavanaugh joined the co-called “liberal wing” of the Court and voted to keep the then-existing CDC Moratorium un place. Justice Kavanaugh, however, made clear in his opinion that he would vote against any attempt to extend the moratorium since in his view (and mine) the moratorium is unconstitutional.
In addition to a majority of the Supreme Court clearly stating the CDC has come unhinged from its moorings, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati – which covers Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan – ruled in July 2021 the CDC overstepped its authority when it issued the moratorium last year. The unanimous 3-judge panel of the 6th circuit said such a moratorium could not be legally delegated to the CDC under existing law.
Fast forward to August 3. Rhetorically speaking, this is the day President Joe Biden tears his oath of office to shreds and sacrifices the rule of law in favor of political expediency. In announcing the new unlawful Presidential action, Biden had this to say for himself:
“The bulk of the constitutional scholarship says that it’s not likely to pass constitutional muster…There are a few scholars who say it will and others who say it’s not likely to, but at a minimum by the time it gets litigated it will probably give some additional time while we’re getting that $45 billion dollars out to people who are in fact behind on the rent and don’t have the money.”
This is a confession. This is a president of the United States of America admitting that he is violating his oath of office. This is an admission to using sheer force of will to operate outside the bounds of the law for mere political gain.
Rental contracts are private agreements. These agreements exist between landlord and tenant and are a creature of intrastate commerce – not interstate commerce. In other words, the federal government has no business operating in this arena. Are there renters adversely affected by COVID19? Sure there are. Most certainly many fewer now than in the Spring of 2020.
Nevertheless, it is no business of the CDC to meddle in rental contracts that are creatures of state law. In addition, think of the thousands of people who invest in real estate and rely on rental income for their primary source of personal income? Or what about retirees who have rental property as the centerpiece of their retirement portfolio. Are these Americans just supposed to sit back and accept this dictatorial federal overreach while they transition to the bread lines themselves?
Undoubtedly this new moratorium will spark a new wave of litigation. But Joe Biden says that’s just fine with him. He 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 because Walensky knows full well she has no business meddling with private rental contracts. Joe Biden will use the next several months (or longer) that litigation takes to work its way through the courts to continue to thumb his nose at the rule of law. Every day that he allows this fiasco to continue is another day of dereliction of duty and violation of the oath of office by the president of the United States of America. History will look back at this time with bewilderment.
The CDC gets to cancel a rental contract? C’Mon Man!