Idaho Dispatch

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Press Release: SCOTUS Restores Rights for Cities, States to Regulate Homeless Camping

By • June 30, 2024

The following press release was sent out by the Office of Attorney General Raúl Labrador. Press releases do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of those at the Idaho Dispatch. 

[BOISE] – The Supreme Court rejected judicial overreach by the Ninth Circuit and restored the ability of struggling West Coast cities to effectively manage their public spaces. The majority opinion cited several times an amicus brief led by Idaho. Before the ruling, cities in the Ninth Circuit could not enforce bans on public camping unless they provided “adequate” shelter for all their homeless residents, making it difficult to clear homeless encampments that occupied city parks and invited crime and disease. According to the Ninth Circuit, to enforce public sleeping bans against the homeless would be “cruel and unusual punishment.”

“I was proud to lead the 23 supporting amicus states for this case,” said Attorney General Labrador. “I’m very pleased the Supreme Court has concurred with our arguments. We have all witnessed the impacts to public streets and spaces in once-beautiful cities like Portland, San Francisco, and Seattle. Homeless camping has destroyed the vitality of these cities, fueled by the enabling policies of legalized drugs and de-prioritized mental health resources. Residents sidestep used needles, garbage, and human waste in their public spaces as they go to work every single day. This SCOTUS decision is at the heart of preserving safety and livability in cities everywhere.”

Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote for the majority,

“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. But in our democracy, that is their right. Nor can a handful of judges begin to “match” the collective wisdom the American people possess in deciding “how best to handle” a pressing social question like homelessness.”

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One thought on “Press Release: SCOTUS Restores Rights for Cities, States to Regulate Homeless Camping

  1. These “new cities” that are being set up for the homeless are total eyesores for their communities.

    On our trips to visit family that live “south of Boise” we always would stop at the Best Western in Bend (formerly Holiday Inn Express). Behind it is Clausen Rd, at one time just a mostly empty area. Slowly a very sparse homeless area became a HUGE homeless encampment. Tents, trailers, motorhomes, most all were falling apart. We would use Clausen to exit the Motel and go to a stoplight on N E Loco Rd afor an easier entrance to Hwy 97. Could I prove it, NO, but the last time we stayed there we picked up two screws in our tires and had to replace those tires. Never stayed there again. I blame that encampment for those damages.

    Forgive the long rant.

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