SCOTUS will rule on the legality of banning homeless people from public areas

The United States Supreme Court will weigh in on the homeless crisis plaguing the Western states.

On Friday, SCOTUS agreed to hear a case that revolves around the Eighth Amendment, which protects against excessive bail, fines, and “cruel and unusual punishments” as it pertains to anti-camping ordinances.

In a decision that applies to Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, the 9th U.S. Court of Appeals ruled the anti-camping ordinances in Grants Pass, Oregon, violate the Eighth Amendment, Fox News Digital reports.

“A separate 9th circuit panel ruled in the Grants Pass case that officials shouldn’t pass laws banning homeless people ‘from using a blanket, pillow, or cardboard box for protection from the elements,'” according to the outlet. And, in 2018, a “9th circuit ruling over a Boise, Idaho, case also found that penalizing the homeless for sleeping on the street when there’s no shelter available violates the 8th amendment.”

Attorney Theane Evangelis represents Grants Pass, which argued that homeless encampments can lead to increased crime, the spread of “medieval” diseases, environmental harm, and devastating fires.

“The tragedy is that these decisions are actually harming the very people they purport to protect,” Evangelis said. “We look forward to presenting our arguments to the Supreme Court this spring.”

With the Golden State suffering from its own, much-publicized homeless crisis, progressive California Governor Gavin Newsom backed Grants Pass’s appeal of the anti-camping ruling.

“California has invested billions to address homelessness, but rulings from the bench have tied the hands of state and local governments to address this issue,” Newsom said in a Friday statement.

According to his office, in September, Newsom filed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court “to clarify that state and local governments can take reasonable actions to address the homelessness crisis creating health and safety dangers for individuals living in encampments and our communities.”

“The Supreme Court can now correct course and end the costly delays from lawsuits that have plagued our efforts to clear encampments and deliver services to those in need,” Newsom said.

As BizPac Review has reported, Republican MLB legend Steve Garvey is running against the likes of Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) for the Senate seat left vacant by the late Democrat, Dianne Feinstein.

Garvey told Fox News Digital on Friday that he has toured southern California’s homeless shelters on the campaign trail, and the approach to the homeless problem must be “grounded in compassion and practical solutions.”

“Having recently visited homeless shelters in San Diego and Skid Row in Los Angeles, I’ve seen the harsh realities faced by those living on the streets,” Garvey said. “This experience reinforces my belief that while we need to uphold public safety and community standards, our approach to homelessness must be grounded in compassion and practical solutions.”

Touring homeless hot spots “started as a personal awakening,” Garvey said, “and has now become a personal commitment to doing everything I can to address this humanitarian crisis.”

The Supreme Court should “take into account the need for humane treatment of the homeless, alongside the enforcement of public ordinances,” he advised.

“It’s imperative that we find a balance that respects the dignity of all individuals while addressing the broader social and health-related issues contributing to homelessness,” the former L.A. Dodgers icon said.

Attorney Ed Johnson represents the homeless individuals who challenged the Grants Pass ordinances. According to him, “failed policies” are to blame for the crisis — and the homeless shouldn’t be punished for the acts of “politicians.”

“The issue before the Court is whether cities can punish homeless residents simply for existing without access to shelter,” Johnson said. “Nevertheless, some politicians and others are cynically and falsely blaming the judiciary for the homelessness crisis to distract the public and deflect blame for years of failed policies.”

 

Melissa Fine

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