As more people end up experiencing homelessness, they’re also facing increasingly punitive and reactionary responses from local governments and their neighbors. Such policies could become legally codified in short order, with the high court having agreed to hear arguments in Grants Pass v. Johnson.

Originally brought in 2018, the case challenged the city of Grants Pass, Oregon, over an ordinance banning camping. Both a federal judge and, later, a panel from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals struck the law down, saying that Grants Pass did not have enough available shelter to offer homeless people. As such, the law was deemed to be a violation of the Eighth Amendment.

The ruling backed up the Ninth Circuit’s earlier ruling on the Martin v. City of Boise case, which said that punishing or arresting people for camping in public when there are no available shelter beds to take them to instead constituted a violation of the “cruel and unusual punishment” clause in the Eighth Amendment. That applied to localities in the Ninth Circuit’s area of concern and has led to greater legal scrutiny even as cities and counties push for more punitive and restrictive anti-camping laws. In fact, Grants Pass pushed to get the Supreme Court to hear the case, and several nominally liberal cities and states on the West Coast are backing its argument. If the Supreme Court overturns the previous Grants Pass and Boise rulings, it would open the door for cities, states, and counties to essentially criminalize being unhoused on a massive scale.

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  • @fastandcurious
    443 months ago
    1. Make people homeless
    2. Criminalize homelessness
    3. Profit