SCOTUS to hear arguments over homeless tents

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On Monday, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments for the most consequential case in decades concerning the rights of people experiencing homelessness.

In Grants Pass v. Johnson, the Supreme Court will decide whether it constitutes cruel and unusual punishment to fine, ticket, or jail someone for sleeping outside on public property if they have nowhere else to go. A ruling in favor of the plaintiffs would make it easier for communities to clear out homeless people’s tent encampments, even if no available housing or shelter exists.

Over 650,000 people in America experience homelessness on any given night, and roughly 40 percent of those individuals are sleeping outside on the streets, in cars, parks, train stations, and other settings not designed primarily for human residence. Federal data published in late 2023 shows a rise in homelessness in most states.

In two major decisions over the last six years, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that criminalizing homelessness when a city lacks adequate shelter or housing violates the Eighth Amendment of the US Constitution. But amid a worsening homelessness crisis, government leaders have pressed the Supreme Court to reconsider, arguing those earlier rulings were incorrectly decided and left them unable to safely manage their communities.


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Chuck comes from a lineage of journalism. He has written for some of the webs most popular news sites. He enjoys spending time outdoors, bull riding, and collecting old vinyl records. Roll Tide!