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US Supreme Court to hear arguments on legality of banning encampments on public land

by Derek Andrews
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The US Supreme Courtroom announced Friday that it has granted certiorari within the case City of Grants Pass, Oregon v. Johnson, which challenges cities banning or closely regulating encampments of unhoused folks on public land beneath the 8th Amendment of the US Structure’s prohibition on “merciless and strange punishment.”

The case surrounds a number of components of the Grants Pass Municipal Code, which embrace anti-sleeping, tenting and park exclusion ordinances that plaintiffs declare criminalize their day-to-day survival as unhoused residents of a city with no US Division of Housing and City Improvement (HUD)-approved shelter for unhoused folks. A number of unhoused people brought the case in 2018 on behalf of “involuntarily homeless” folks in Grants Move.

In 2020, the US District Courtroom for the District of Oregon Medford Division ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, stating that the present language of the municipal code violated the eighth Modification. Grants Move then appealed the choice to the Ninth Circuit Courtroom of Appeals, which once more ruled largely in favor of the plaintiffs in 2022, later amending the choice in 2023 whereas nonetheless largely ruling in favor of the plaintiffs. Grants Move then petitioned for certiorari within the US Supreme Courtroom, seeking to overturn a key precedential case upon which prior rulings had been based mostly, Martin v. City of Boise.

The Supreme Courtroom’s announcement comes as cities throughout the US have begun to crackdown on encampments of unhoused folks on public land. In 2021, Los Angeles’ Mayor Eric Garcetti signed an anti-camping ordinance into regulation. This culminated within the eviction of a big encampment in Echo Park, with the town promising it had discovered “housing options” for the camp’s residents. Nonetheless, later experiences discovered {that a} 12 months after the crackdown solely 17 of 183 evicted have been positioned in everlasting housing. Regardless of this, California Governor Gavin Newsom started favoring a hardline strategy to homelessness in California in 2022. Each the city of Los Angeles and Governor Newsom have filed amicus briefs in favor of the town of Grants Move. Different comparable raids and evictions have occurred in encampments throughout the US.

In keeping with HUD’s 2023 Annual Homelessness Assessment Report, homelessness has elevated throughout the US by 12 % since 2022. The report estimates that at the very least 40 % of these experiencing homelessness reside in uninhabitable locations, together with public parks and sidewalks. The present inhabitants of unhoused folks is disproportionately made up of Black, Hispanic, Latino and Indigenous folks. There was additionally a 7 % enhance in veterans experiencing homelessness since 2022.

Source / Picture: jurist.org

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