The conservative Supreme Court majority allows deportations across the United States to resume, preventing the Biden administration from enforcing a temporary ban that was put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The court action ends protections for about 3.5 million people in the United States who said they were at risk of deportation within the next two months, according to Census Bureau data in early August.
The court said Thursday night in an unsigned notice that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which reimposed the moratorium on Aug. 3, did not have the power to do so under federal law without express permission from Congress. The judges rejected the administration’s arguments in support of the CDC’s authority.
“If a moratorium on evictions imposed by the federal government is to continue, Congress must specifically authorize it,” the court wrote.
The three Liberal judges were dissenting. Judge Stephen Breyer, writing for all three, pointed to the increase in COVID-19 caused by the delta variant as one of the reasons the court should have left the moratorium in place. “The public interest is strongly in favor of upholding the CDC judgment at this time, as over 90% of counties experience high transmission rates,” Breyer wrote.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the administration was “disappointed” with the decision and said US President Joe Biden “is again calling on all entities that can prevent evictions – from cities and from states to local courts, landlords, Cabinet agencies – to act to prevent evictions.
Representative Cori Bush, D-Mo., Who camped outside Capitol Hill after the moratorium on evictions expired late last month, said Congress must act to restore protections.
U.S. Representative Cori Bush, a Democrat who has fought for a ban on residential evictions, is seen thanking protesters on Capitol Hill earlier this month. (Evelyn Hockstein / Reuters)
Earlier versions of the moratorium, first ordered under Trump’s presidency, applied nationwide and were put in place out of fear that people who couldn’t pay their rent would end up in living conditions crowded as homeless shelters and help spread the virus.
The new moratorium temporarily halted evictions in counties with “substantial and high levels” of virus transmission and would cover areas where 90% of the US population lives.
The Biden administration has argued that the increase in the delta variant underscores the dangers of resuming evictions in areas with high COVID-19 transmission. But this argument did not gain broad support in the High Court.
-From The Associated Press, last updated at 7 a.m. ET
What’s happening across Canada
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What is happening in the world
A health worker waits during a vaccination campaign for the 3rd dose at the Belgrade Fair vaccination center in Belgrade, Serbia, earlier this week. (Zorana Jevtic / Reuters)
As of Friday morning, more than 214.6 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 case tracker. The death toll worldwide was over 4.4 million.
In the Americas, Argentine prosecutors have accused President Alberto Fernandez of allegedly breaking a mandatory quarantine, local media reported, when he and his partner threw a birthday party last year with friends.
In Africa, the inventor of the COVID-19 vaccine BioNTech said on Friday that he plans to build production sites for malaria and tuberculosis vaccines in Rwanda and Senegal, reducing his search for African sites.
Like its branded vaccine Comirnaty to prevent coronavirus disease, future vaccines for malaria and tuberculosis would be based on so-called messenger RNA technology, he said. Building on its success with Partner in COVID-19 shots, BioNTech said in July that it would seek to develop a vaccine against malaria, a mosquito-borne disease, considering production in Africa.
A policeman wearing a face mask patrols Nakamise shopping street in Tokyo on Thursday, where cases of COVID-19 are on the rise. (Carl Court / Getty Images)
In the Asia-Pacific region, a contaminant found in a batch of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines delivered to Japan is believed to be a metallic particle, Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported, citing Health Ministry sources.
In the Middle East, Iran reported 36,758 new cases of COVID-19 and 694 more deaths on Thursday.
In Europe, Russia on Friday reported 798 coronavirus-related deaths in the past 24 hours as well as 19,509 new cases, including 1,509 in Moscow. The official number of cases has been steadily declining since a wave of infections blamed on the highly contagious delta variant peaked in July.
-From The Associated Press, Reuters and CBC News, last updated 7:40 a.m. ET