Court ruling allows San Francisco to clear out homeless encampments

 July 10, 2024

San Francisco has become notorious for having a large homeless population along with the public health and safety challenges it creates.

However, a federal court finally gave the city's government a green light to clear out homeless encampments.  

Supreme Court upholds ban on public camping

According the Daily Caller, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals moved on Monday to lift an injunction it imposed two and a half years ago which required officials to offer immediate shelter before removing the encampments.

While the appeals court had originally held that removal efforts were a violation of the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment, America's highest judicial body disagreed.

In a six to three ruling late last month, the Supreme Court upheld a ban on public camping passed by local lawmakers in Grants Pass, Oregon.

"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," Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in his majority opinion.

"But in our democracy, that is their right," he continued before adding, "The Constitution’s Eighth Amendment serves many important functions, but it does not authorize federal judges to wrest those rights and responsibilities from the American people and in their place dictate this Nation’s homelessness policy."

Mayor welcomes ruling

London Breed serves as San Francisco's Democratic mayor, and she expressed support for the Supreme Court's ruling in a statement.

"This decision by the Supreme Court will help cities like San Francisco manage our public spaces more effectively and efficiently," Breed declared.

"We will continue to offer shelter, but we will not allow those who reject offers of help to remain where they are," the mayor went on to insist.

Homeless has gotten worse despite massive public spending

While homelessness has long been a problem in San Francisco, the Daily Caller noted that it has become even more prominent in recent years, rising by 7% between 2022 and 2024.

That upswing in the city's homeless population has come despite local leaders allocating some $676 million to combat it during the 2022-2023 fiscal year.

What's more, San Francisco failed abysmally in its plan to build 82,000 new housing units by 2031, with just seven new housing permits in the first two months of this year.

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