June 11, 2021
23 Attorney Generals Argue that
Millions of Evictions While Pandemic is Ongoing Would Increase the Spread of
COVID-19 and Threaten U.S. Pandemic Recovery
City, NV –
Today, Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford joined a coalition of 23 attorneys
general in asking the U.S. Supreme Court to support the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention’s (CDC) order that prohibits evictions during the
COVID-19 pandemic. This order is aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19.
an amicus or friend-of-the-court brief, AG Ford and the attorneys general argue
that the CDC’s eviction moratorium should remain in place and that states would
face potentially catastrophic harm if it is suddenly lifted. Specifically, the
coalition argues that without the moratorium in place, millions of vulnerable
individuals would be unsafely forced from their homes and onto streets, crowded
shelters, and others’ homes across state lines, risking the spread of COVID-19.
With only about half of Americans fully vaccinated, such
action could jeopardize the U.S.’s fragile health and economic recovery.
Numerous jurisdictions passed their own local moratorium on evictions, but the
CDC’s Order is critical to prevent the spread of COVID-19 across state lines.
need help, and that’s the bottom line,” said AG Ford. “Even though
vaccinations are rolling out, we are still in a pandemic and going through unprecedented
times. While businesses are reopening, it will take time for those struggling
to get back on their feet so my office is urging the Supreme Court to keep the
eviction moratorium in place. We must help each other during these unexpected
hardships as we move into a new normal.”
2020, Congress passed COVID-19 relief legislation, which included a 120-day
eviction moratorium for certain rental properties. When that legislation
expired in July 2020, the CDC issued its own eviction moratorium order under
its authority to protect public health. The CDC order protects certain tenants who aren’t able to pay full rent because of a loss of
income or medical expenses from being evicted at residential properties
nationwide. The order was originally set to expire on December 31, 2020, but
was extended by Congress through January 31, 2021, and has been further
extended by the CDC. It is currently set to run through June 30, 2021 and could
be extended again.
eviction ban was challenged by property owners, managers, and trade
associations who want to resume evictions. The lower court in this case ruled
that the CDC does not have the authority to order a national eviction ban but
granted the government’s request to stay the court’s decision pending appeal.
After the court of appeals denied plaintiffs’ motion to vacate the stay, the
plaintiffs appealed to the Supreme Court, asking for the stay to be vacated.
their amicus brief, the attorneys general urge the
Supreme Court to allow the CDC’s eviction moratorium to remain in place
Eliminating the CDC Order would throw state COVID-19 responses
into disarray: To
stop the spread of COVID-19, every state has implemented some measure of social
distancing and has, in some form, encouraged or required individuals to stay at
home if possible. States relied on the CDC Order as part of their broad
COVID-19 response, with some states expressly adopting the CDC Order under
state authority. Others relied on the CDC Order to stop evictions and did not
pass their own eviction regulations to avoid creating confusion. For states
that enacted their own, more expansive protections against eviction, the CDC
Order acts as a national floor, preventing spillover effects from neighboring states with fewer protections against evictions.
The pandemic is still ongoing and suddenly vacating the ban would
irreparably harm the states: The risk of COVID-19 remains potentially
catastrophic even amid the vaccine rollout. Roughly half of U.S. adults remain
unvaccinated, and the vaccine is currently available only for those 12 years of
age and older. And, although numbers are declining, more than 14,000 cases are
still reported daily, and over 2,500 people are hospitalized for COVID-19 each
week. If the CDC’s Order was vacated, millions of people would suddenly be
thrown out of their homes and forced to move in with friends or family, into
shelters, or onto the street. According to the CDC, as many as 30-40 million
American renters are at risk of eviction, and at least four million are at
“imminent risk.” If these individuals and families are evicted, that would
significantly increase the potential for the spread of COVID-19. This would not
only harm the individuals directly affected, but it would also threaten entire
communities and public health.
Renters and their families remain disproportionately vulnerable to
at risk of eviction are disproportionately unlikely to be vaccinated. Both
evictions and COVID-19 transmission are more frequent in lower-income
neighborhoods. Additionally, a significant percentage of renter households who
have fallen behind on rent have children, many of whom cannot currently get
COVID-19 does not respect state borders: A national response, like the
CDC’s eviction moratorium, is needed to control the spread of COVID-19. A
patchwork jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction approach cannot contain a virus that
moves with infected people across state lines. Additionally, research has shown
that when households are evicted, they move in with friends or family. Mixing
households—which may happen across state lines—increases the risk of spreading
A pause on evictions is still needed for economic reasons: Many people still cannot pay
the back rent they owe while the nation slowly reopens. The federal government
has appropriated over $45 billion to help renters catch up on their rent, and these
funds are being provided to state and local governments. It takes time for
states to properly disburse these payments to their residents.
addition to Nevada, other states who signed the brief include: California, Connecticut,
Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland,
Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North
Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, and
To view the amicus brief, click here.