US Supreme Court docket to listen to arguments on legality of banning encampments on public land – JURIST


The US Supreme Court docket 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 underneath 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 Growth (HUD)-approved shelter for unhoused folks. A number of unhoused people brought the case in 2018 on behalf of “involuntarily homeless” folks in Grants Cross.

In 2020, the US District Court docket 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 Cross then appealed the choice to the Ninth Circuit Court docket 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 Cross then petitioned for certiorari within the US Supreme Court docket, trying to overturn a key precedential case upon which prior rulings had been primarily based, Martin v. City of Boise.

The Supreme Court docket’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 giant encampment in Echo Park, with the town promising it had discovered “housing options” for the camp’s residents. Nonetheless, later reviews discovered {that a} yr 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 method 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 Cross. Different comparable raids and evictions have occurred in encampments throughout the US.

In accordance with HUD’s 2023 Annual Homelessness Assessment Report, homelessness has elevated throughout the US by 12 p.c since 2022. The report estimates that no less than 40 p.c of these experiencing homelessness live 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 p.c improve in veterans experiencing homelessness since 2022.

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