Mask the CDC

As the Biden administration secretly redistributes illegal aliens carrying the Covid virus around the United States, the CDC has issued a new set of “interim public health recommendations for fully vaccinated people.” The CDC has promulgated the recommendations in response to the big nothing of the Delta variant applicable to all those in K-12 schools and counties with high or substantial levels of viral transmission — regardless of vaccination status, as it says in the heading of the recommendations.

I am beginning to think that the authorities are fond of exercising control over the days of our lives. Indeed, they seem to have become habituated to it. It’s a narcotic of its own kind, probably more addictive than Fentanyl.

The CDC has revealed itself as an administrative agency that is worse than worthless. It was the CDC that lawlessly extended Congress’s eviction moratorium. The latest CDC extension expires this week. I believe that the CDC may have omitted to suspend the tax obligations or other debts of landlords affected by the moratorium, but the CDC has been reliably “informed that unprecedented emergency resources have been appropriated by various Federal agencies that assist renters and landlords during the pandemic.”

The CDC order is denominated “temporary.” As always, it’s a long way to temporary.

Six federal courts of appeals have held the CDC’s eviction moratorium to exceed the CDC’s lawful powers. Even though three federal appellate courts upheld the moratorium, it’s not a close question.

The CDC extended its moratorium under terms broader than Congress’s. The CDC moratorium prohibited eviction of all “covered persons” (as defined by specified income levels) — without regard to whether the rental property relied on federal funds or loans.

Congress got in on the act again in late December, before the CDC eviction moratorium elapsed, including a provision in the Consolidated Appropriations Act that extended the order through January 31, 2021. The CDC jumped in again too, extending the order three more times beyond the congressionally authorized date. As I say, it’s addicting.

A majority of the members of the Supreme Court seemed to acknowledge the illegality of the CDC’s eviction moratorium, but wouldn’t be bothered to do anything about it thanks to the deep thoughts of Justice Kavanaugh.

Relying on Congress to restrain itself or the Supreme Court to rein in lawless government puts you in a bad spot. It’s like Republicans relying on Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. It may turn out okay in the end, but you really don’t want to bank on it.

Reason associate editor Christian Britschgi draws attention to the Sixth Circuit opinion this week in Tiger Lily v. HUD this week. Britschgi’s column is “Federal Appeals Court Sneaks in One Final Ruling Against the CDC’s Expiring Eviction Moratorium.” The Wall Street Journal also devoted a good editorial to the Sixth Circuit opinion, written for a unanimous three-judge panel by Judge John K. Bush.

Under the CDC’s interpretation of its powers, Judge Bush wrote for the court, the CDC “can do anything it can conceive of to prevent the spread of disease. That reading would grant the CDC director near-dictatorial power for the duration of the pandemic, with authority to shut down entire industries as freely as she [Rochelle Walensky] could ban evictions.” The current CDC moratorium expires July 31, but “the pandemic” rolls on (not).

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