Supreme Court asked to review ruling that claims clearing homeless encampments is 'cruel and unusual punishment'

“The 9th Circuit’s decision in this case strips local authority from a complex problem.”

Ari Hoffman Seattle WA
Numerous bodies across the US are pushing for the Supreme Court to review a court ruling that prevents cities from enforcing bans on homeless encampments in public spaces. Among them is the state of California, as well as multiple cities, municipalities, and organizations that are challenging a decision in Johnson vs. City of Grants Pass with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals arguing the decision strips local government authority and as a result, cities are unable to address the homeless crisis on their streets.

In Johnson v. Grants Pass, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a permanent injunction that enjoined or stopped, a city ordinance enforcing public camping prohibitions unless the city first provides shelter beds for each homeless individual in the jurisdiction.

A previous ruling in the case, Martin vs. City of Boise, cited the Eighth Amendment, describing criminally punishing the homeless for sleeping outside in public spaces as "cruel and unusual punishment."

Seattle City Attorney Ann Davison said in a statement to The Post Millennial, "The 9th Circuit’s decision in this case strips local authority from a complex problem."

“Local officials know what their community needs and what unique obstacles face those experiencing homelessness in their region. The amicus brief filed today asks the Supreme Court to review case law, as applied by federal courts, and restore the authority of local elected officials. Local governments must be allowed to create laws that suit their region’s specific needs."

"It should be among our top moral priorities to help the unhoused move into permanent housing. But a one-size-fits-all legal approach will not create effective solutions for every community."

In addition to the City of Seattle, 18 local governments and governmental organizations including the state of California, Honolulu, Anchorage, San Diego, Colorado Springs, Providence the National League of Cities, and the National Association of Counties have signed onto the brief.

It remains to be seen if the Supreme Court will hear the case.
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