Opinions / Op-eds

SCOTUS Restores Rights for Cities, States to Regulate Homeless Camping

[BOISE] – The Supreme Court rejected judicial overreach by the Ninth Circuit and restored the ability of struggling West Coast cities to effectively manage their public spaces. The majority opinion cited several times an amicus brief led by Idaho.

Before the ruling, cities in the Ninth Circuit could not enforce bans on public camping unless they provided “adequate” shelter for all their homeless residents, making it difficult to clear homeless encampments that occupied city parks and invited crime and disease. According to the Ninth Circuit, to enforce public sleeping bans against the homeless would be “cruel and unusual punishment.”

“I was proud to lead the 23 supporting amicus states for this case,” said Attorney General Labrador. “I’m very pleased the Supreme Court has concurred with our arguments. We have all witnessed the impacts to public streets and spaces in once-beautiful cities like Portland, San Francisco, and Seattle. Homeless camping has destroyed the vitality of these cities, fueled by the enabling policies of legalized drugs and de-prioritized mental health resources. Residents sidestep used needles, garbage, and human waste in their public spaces as they go to work every single day. This SCOTUS decision is at the heart of preserving safety and livability in cities everywhere.”

Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote for the majority:

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“Yes, people will disagree over which policy responses are best; they may experiment with one set of approaches only to find later another set works better; they may find certain responses more appropriate for some communities than others. But in our democracy, that is their right. Nor can a handful of judges begin to “match” the collective wisdom the American people possess in deciding “how best to handle” a pressing social question like homelessness.”

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One reply on “SCOTUS Restores Rights for Cities, States to Regulate Homeless Camping”

Mayor of Boise promptly said she won’t use the new rules . Boise is turning into a dump . So frustrating…

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