Vaccine Mandate Critics Urge Highest Court to Defend Individual Freedom

Supreme Court reflecting on the pool at the National Mall

President Joe Biden’s series of controversial federal vaccine mandates faced their first day before the U.S. Supreme Court Friday, and critics are urging the justices to side with personal freedoms over what they call executive branch overreach.

National Federation of Independent Business v. Department of Labor, the first of two cases heard by the court Friday, considers a vaccine mandate on private employers with 100 or more employees. The second case, Biden v. Missouri, challenges Biden’s mandate on health care workers.

“Today was one of the most important moments in our nation’s history,” Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts, which has joined the legal challenges to Biden’s mandate push, said. “The Biden administration, and many on the far left, believe that the federal government has the right and the authority to dictate personal and private medical decisions to the American people, and coerce their employers into collecting protected health care data on their employees. This overreach is a fundamental violation of the American spirit of freedom and personal responsibility and represents the left’s assault not just on common sense, but our constitutional rights.”

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Arizona Supreme Court Explains Voids of State Vaccination, Mask Ban Laws

exterior of Arizona's Supreme Court building

Arizona’s high court has elaborated on their decision to void additions to the most-recent state budget, saying lawmakers ran afoul of provisions in the state constitution meant to simplify legislation.

Justices released their unanimous opinion Thursday in Arizona School Boards Association et al. v. State of Arizona. The ruling, initially announced in September, affirmed a lower court ruling that said the Legislature went against two parts of the Arizona Constitution.

The opinion nullifies the state’s ban on mask mandates in schools, laws shoring up local election security and other laws justices concluded had little to do with the state budget.

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Federal Workers with Natural Immunity to COVID-19 Sue Biden Administration over Vaccine Mandate

President Joe Biden talks to Veterans and VA staff members during a briefing on the vaccine process Monday, March 8, 2021, at the Washington DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

Federal workers with naturally acquired immunity to COVID-19 filed a class-action lawsuit Monday against the federal government over the Biden administration’s mandate that all federal workers be vaccinated against it as a condition of employment. The mandate doesn’t allow for exemptions for religious or other reasons, including having natural immunity.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas by the New Civil Liberties Alliance, a nonpartisan, nonprofit civil liberties group, and the Texas Public Policy Foundation on behalf of 11 individuals.

Those named in the lawsuit include Dr. Anthony Fauci, Chief COVID Response Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and over 20 officials including cabinet heads, as well as several task forces and several federal agencies. They include the U.S. surgeon general, director of CDC and OPM, the secretaries of the departments of Veteran’s Affairs, FEMA, FPS, OMB, Secret Service, USGA, among others.

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Federal Court Sides with Biden’s Eviction Moratorium, for Now

Eviction Notice

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., ruled Friday against a challenge to President Joe Biden’s latest eviction moratorium.

U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich denied a request from the Alabama and Georgia association of Realtors to overturn an eviction moratorium from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The 60-day order bans landlords from evicting tenants, even if they do not pay rent, citing concerns over the spread of COVID-19.

“About half of all housing providers are mom-and-pop operators, and without rental income, they cannot pay their own bills or maintain their properties,” National Association of Realtors President Charlie Oppler said. “NAR has always advocated the best solution for all parties was rental assistance paid directly to housing providers to cover the rent and utilities of any vulnerable tenants during the pandemic. No housing provider wants to evict a tenant and considers it only as a last resort.”

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Ohio Group: New Eviction Moratorium Buys Time

Eviction Notice for Nonpayment document with a wooden judge gavel

An Ohio group applauded the federal government’s move to issue a new eviction moratorium just as courts across Ohio were beginning the process of hearing eviction cases again this week.

The Biden administration announced a new moratorium on evictions Tuesday evening despite doubts over whether the order will hold up in court.

The order lasts 60 days and applies only to areas hit hardest by COVID-19. It was issued after the previous order expired Saturday and is expected to cover roughly 80% of counties in the U.S.

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Report: 1.9 Million Households Owe $15 Billion in Back Rent as Eviction Moratorium Expires

Aerial view of a suburb

Up to 1.95 million households across America will owe a collective $15 billion in back rent when the eviction moratorium expires Saturday, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia estimates.

That number will reach 2 million by December, according to the report released Friday. In Pennsylvania, about 60,000 renter households will owe $412 million come August. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) made one final 30-day extension of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program through July 31. President Joe Biden’s administration said its “hands are tied” by the courts on the matter and any further relief must come from Congress itself. 

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Ohio Group Joins Another Legal Battle to Stop Eviction Ban

Eviction Notice for Nonpayment document with a wooden judge gavel

A Columbus-based think tank recently joined a Tennessee lawsuit calling for the end of the federal government’s eviction moratorium, saying the government lacks authority to rewrite private rental agreements.

The Buckeye Institute filed an amicus brief in Tiger Lily v. United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, which currently sits before the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. A U.S. district court ruled in favor of landlords, saying the law does not authorize the eviction moratorium.

“The Buckeye Institute is asking the court of appeals to affirm the district court’s decision that Congress did not give Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the authority to rewrite millions of private rental agreements across the country,” Jay Carson, senior litigator at the Buckeye Institute said. “Further, while the CDC’s intentions in imposing the moratorium may have been good, the repercussions are that small landlords face difficulties paying their mortgages, taxes and for the upkeep on their properties, which studies show lead many to exit the market, leaving fewer housing options available.”

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Landlords Struggle Under Extended CDC Eviction Ban, Class-Action Lawsuit Argues

John Vecchione

Landlords are struggling after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) extended a national ban on certain evictions apparently to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The CDC extended the moratorium, first enacted in Sept. 2020, through June 30.

The New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA), a nonpartisan, nonprofit civil rights group, filed a class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa on behalf of Asa Mossman of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and other housing providers. 

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Georgia to Provide More Than $550M in Rental, Utility Assistance

Georgia will provide $552 million in rent and utility assistance to landlords and tenants, Gov. Brian Kemp announced Friday.

The federal government provided the COVID-19-related aid through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, and it will be paid directly to landlords and utility companies.

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Constitution Series: The Seventh Amendment

The Jury by John Morgan

    This is the fourteenth of twenty-five weekly articles in The Tennessee Star’s Constitution Series. Students in grades 8 through 12 can sign up here to participate in The Tennessee Star’s Constitution Bee, which will be held on September 23. The Seventh Amendment is one of those steady but unspectacular amendments that does not feature prominently…

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