Good things are happening! The Supreme Court won’t listen to landlords, California incorporates labor rights into their curriculum, touring musicians get a big break, and consumer protection regulators get some much-needed help.

Supreme Court (Sort Of) Saves Rent Control

The Supreme Court has decided that it will not hear a major legal challenge to New York’s rent control law. If they had heard the case, it would have threatened the legal basis for policies that keep housing prices affordable all over the country — and would have given landlords even more power over tenants.

On Monday, the court announced that it would not take up the case, though the justices did not offer a reason for declining. The plaintiffs, two landlord advocacy groups, had originally filed a lawsuit against New York State’s rent stabilization law in 2019. The law dramatically increased protections for tenants and made it harder for landlords to remove units from rent stabilization, a measure that allows rents to go up by a set amount per year.

The court’s decision could be part of Chief Justice John Roberts’ long game, in which he allows the Supreme Court to take up far-right cases designed to destroy precedents, while at the same time taking credit for refusing to issue drastic decisions in some cases. 

Nonetheless, the preservation of the rent control law is still a positive development — since housing prices in New York and the rest of the country are already far too high. Rental increases have significantly outpaced wage growth, and even inflation. In 2022, market research firm Moody’s found that the average American family now spends 30 percent of its income on rent. An average apartment in New York City costs $5,588 a month, a new record.

Jay Martin, the executive director of one of the groups that filed the anti-rent control lawsuit, was unswayed by the court’s decision, saying in a statement: “We remain convinced that the law is irrational and vulnerable to more specific challenges. One way or another, this law must go down.”