The White House is letting the left chalk up a symbolic win while placing the onus on the Supreme Court to invalidate the ban, but it’s eroding its own credibility in the process.
The difficulty with enacting “temporary, emergency” moratoriums on unpopular but necessary legal processes is not starting them, but ending them. In my long career with New York City’s planning department, the agency continually resisted demands for moratoriums on types of construction some politicians saw as problematic. The bureaucrats knew that once the moratorium went into effect it would be extended, again and again. Only the courts would be able to remove it.
This hard lesson has now been learned by the Biden administration, which inherited from its predecessor a national moratorium on tenant evictions in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control moratorium expired on July 31, after a majority of the Supreme Court justices had expressed doubts about its constitutionality. Under enormous pressure from the Democratic party’s left wing, the administration has now issued a new extension of the moratorium to October 3. It’s widely thought likely to be overturned in the courts, even by the Biden administration itself.
Eric Kober is an adjunct fellow at the Manhattan Institute. He retired in 2017 as director of housing, economic and infrastructure planning at the New York City Department of City Planning. Follow him on Twitter here.
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