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 September 23, 2023

Newsom asks SCOTUS to reconsider its encampment ruling

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) wants the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider a key appellate court ruling regarding homeless encampments, Politico reports

What Newsom is referring to is the Grants Pass ruling, which was decided last year by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports, "Citing its 2018 decision, the appeals court said the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment prohibits cities from punishing the homeless for sleeping on public property or using blankets and pillows to protect themselves."

"And, it has been interpreted to ban sweeps of encampments unless a city has enough shelter space for its entire homeless population," the outlet adds.

Newsom wants this ruling overturned because, according to him, it has "paralyzed" California's cities.

He and his legal team said as much in a brief that they filed with the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday.

The briefing reads, "These courts have stretched (the 2018 ruling’s) reasonable limit into an insurmountable roadblock, preventing cities and towns from imposing common-sense time and place restrictions to keep streets safe and to move those experiencing homelessness into shelter."

Newsom and his lawyers further argued that state and local governments "need the flexibility to also address immediate threats to health and safety in public places — both to individuals living in unsafe encampments and other members of the public impacted by them."

Newsom has released a public statement in conjunction with the brief.

"While I agree with the basic principle that a city shouldn’t criminalize homeless individuals for sleeping outside when they have nowhere else to go within that city’s boundaries, courts continue to reach well beyond that narrow limit to block any number of reasonable efforts to protect homeless individuals and the broader public from the harms of uncontrolled encampments," Newsom said.

He added. "It’s time for the courts to stop these confusing, impractical, and costly rulings that only serve to worsen this humanitarian crisis."

The big question now is whether or not the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court will decide to hear Newsom's case. There has been little indication as to whether the justices will do so.

Politico notes that, in 2019, the Supreme Court did turn down the opportunity to hear the original 2018 case that is at issue. But, there are been several rulings since the 2018 ruling that have added to the 2018 ruling.

So, the court's decision not to hear the case in 2019 does not necessarily mean that it will also refuse to hear the case now.

Written By:
Oliver Winters

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