US Supreme Court eyes anti-camping laws used against the homeless

US Supreme Court eyes anti-camping laws used against the homeless
US Supreme Court eyes anti-camping laws used against the homeless

Hello and welcome to the details of US Supreme Court eyes anti-camping laws used against the homeless and now with the details

Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - An unhoused woman named Kimberly Morris holds up a notice a police officer gave her giving her 72 hours to move her tent from the park, in Grants Pass, Oregon April 18, 2024. — Reuters pic

WASHINGTON, April 22 — The US Supreme Court today confronted the nation’s homelessness crisis as the justices began hearing arguments over the legality of local laws that are used against people camping on public streets and parks in a case involving a southwest Oregon city’s vagrancy policy.

Advertisement

The justices were considering an appeal by Grants Pass, Oregon of a lower court’s ruling that enforcing the city’s anti-camping ordinances against homeless people when there is no shelter space available violates the US Constitution’s Eighth Amendment prohibition on cruel and unusual punishments.

The arguments were ongoing.

The case requires the nine justices to tackle the complex societal problem of homelessness that continues to vex public officials nationwide as municipalities face chronic shortages of affordable housing. On any given night in the United States, more than 600,000 people are homeless, according to US government estimates.

Advertisement

The case is focused on three ordinances in Grants Pass, a city of roughly 38,000 people, that target sleeping and camping in public streets, alleyways and parks. Violators are fined US$295 (RM1,409) and repeat offenders can be criminally prosecuted for trespass, punishable by up to 30 days in jail.

Advocates for the homeless, various liberal legal groups and other critics have said laws like these criminalise people simply for being homeless and for actions they cannot avoid, such as sleeping in public. They point to a 1962 Supreme Court ruling that the Eighth Amendment barred punishing individuals based on their status.

Proponents including various government officials have said the laws are a needed tool for maintaining public safety. Lower courts have “hampered efforts to address encampments and confront the homelessness crisis,” Democratic California Governor Gavin Newsom told the justices in a written filing.

Advertisement

“There is no compassion in stepping over people in the streets, and there is no dignity in allowing people to die in dangerous, fire-prone encampments,” Newsom added.

The case, which began in 2018, involved three homeless people who filed a class-action lawsuit seeking to block the measures impacting them in Grants Pass. One of the plaintiffs has since died.

US Magistrate Judge Mark Clarke in Medford, Oregon ruled that the Grants Pass “policy and practice of punishing homelessness” by prohibiting sleeping outside while using a blanket or bedding, violates the Eighth Amendment.

The city had defended itself in the case in part by noting that homeless people have alternatives outside the city, including nearby undeveloped federal land, county campsites or state rest stops. The judge said that argument “sheds light on the city’s attitude towards its homeless citizens” by seeking to drive them out or punish them if they stay.

The San Francisco-based 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in 2022 upheld Clarke’s injunction against enforcing the anti-camping ordinances “for the mere act of sleeping outside with rudimentary protection from the elements, or for sleeping in their car at night, when there is no other place in the City for them to go.”

Lawyers for Grants Pass said that under the 9th Circuit’s ruling, the Eighth Amendment “would immunize numerous other purportedly involuntary acts from prosecution, such as drug use by addicts, public intoxication by alcoholics and possession of child pornography by paedophiles.”

The plaintiffs urged the Supreme Court to rule in their favour.

“It is difficult to imagine a more blameless offense than resting outside with a blanket to survive the cold when you have nowhere else to go,” their lawyers said in a written brief.

A ruling is due by the end of June. — Reuters

These were the details of the news US Supreme Court eyes anti-camping laws used against the homeless for this day. We hope that we have succeeded by giving you the full details and information. To follow all our news, you can subscribe to the alerts system or to one of our different systems to provide you with all that is new.

It is also worth noting that the original news has been published and is available at Malay Mail and the editorial team at AlKhaleej Today has confirmed it and it has been modified, and it may have been completely transferred or quoted from it and you can read and follow this news from its main source.

PREV South Africa building collapse: Death toll rise to 30, another 22 still missing
NEXT Top French university loses funding over pro-Palestinian protests

Author Information

I have been an independent financial adviser for over 11 years in the city and in recent years turned my experience in finance and passion for journalism into a full time role. I perform analysis of Companies and publicize valuable information for shareholder community. Address: 2077 Sharon Lane Mishawaka, IN 46544, USA Phone: (+1) 574-255-1083 Email: [email protected]