Attorney General Merrick Garland on Monday urged legal professionals to help address a trove of eviction filings expected to pile up since the Supreme Court blocked the Biden administration’s eviction moratorium last week.
In a video posted to Twitter, the attorney general said eviction filings are expected to spike to roughly double pre-pandemic levels. He cited a recent Census Bureau survey showing more than 6 million households are behind on rental payments, more than half of which say they could be evicted within the next two months.
“The impact of evictions on these families and on exacerbating the pandemic would be devastating,” Mr. Garland said.
The legal profession, he said, is “well-positioned” to support all of those affected, including tenants, landlords and court systems.
He suggested volunteering to provide legal counseling or representation to tenants who want to litigate an eviction filing, mediate a dispute with a landlord or apply for rental assistance.
“Ensuring that our justice system delivers outcomes that are fair and accessible to all without regard to wealth or status is one of the highest ideals to our profession,” he said.
The call-to-action comes after the Supreme Court issued an unsigned opinion Thursday, finding that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention overstepped its authority by repeatedly extending a ban on evictions citing the COVID-19 pandemic.