A federal judge allowed the Biden administration’s latest eviction moratorium Friday—solely because an appeals court upheld the last one. U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich struck down a lawsuit Alabama landlords filed over the eviction pause, claiming her “hands were tied” over the new moratorium even though she believes it’s illegal. She cited the higher court’s previous ruling that Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could implement such a ban, a decision she ruled unconstitutional in May. That ruling was also upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision in June, though Justice Brett Kavanaugh had said he wouldn’t vote to extend it again. The landlords are set to appeal the decision, which could rise to the level of the Supreme Court again. The White House commended the decision in a statement Friday, though it acknowledged that “further proceedings in this case are likely.”
President Joe Biden admitted last week that the moratorium was likely legally questionable, though he said it served as a stopgap measure to allow federal funding to be distributed. Congress and the White House engaged in a back-and-forth in recent weeks over who had the authority to issue a new moratorium, with Biden eventually imposing one.