Conservative SCOTUS justices skeptical about challenges to ordinances that fine homeless people

 April 23, 2024

The homelessness problem in Democrat-run cities and states is far beyond out of control. 

That's why some cities have been able to enact ordinances that help crack down on the issue by punishing homeless people for camping on public property when they have nowhere else to go.

According to NBC News, the U.S. Supreme Court -- at least the conservative majority -- seemed skeptical of challenges to those types of ordinaces, like the ones enacted by the leaders of Grants Pass, Oregon.

The town enacted the ordinances to tamp down on the explosion of homeless people camping on public property, which of course made its way to the courts.

Earlier decisions

An appeals court ruling previously said that the ordinances "are prohibited under the Constitution’s Eighth Amendment, which bars cruel and unusual punishment."

The ordinances were meant to clear homeless encampments that kept popping up on sidewalks, streets, parks and similar types of public property.

At issue are the specific types of violations issued by the city for breaking the ordinances, which include fines "of up to several hundred dollars and exclusion orders barring people from public property."

NBC News noted:

Justices repeatedly conceded that addressing homelessness is a complicated policy question, but the conservative members of the court expressed doubts that a lawsuit under the Eighth Amendment was the best way to deal with it.

Conservative justices picked apart the argument that such ordinances can be challenged under the Eighth Amendment.

Countering the argument

Justice Neil Gorsuch raised the point that if cities are unable to enforce such ordinances, "the same logic could apply to other ordinances, such as those prohibiting urinating or defecating in public."

"How about if there are no public bathroom facilities? Do people have an Eighth Amendment right to defecate and urinate?" Gorsuch asked.

There has been a growing push in Oregon and other states with homelessness crises to find a way to mitigate the issue, and it has undoubtedly become political.

Only time will tell if the high court takes up the matter, but if it does, its decision will have massive implications one way or the other.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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