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Supreme Court criminalizes homelessness allowing laws that arrest people who sleep in public areas

The Supreme Court will allow thecriminalizationof homelessness after a majority ruled to allow laws that allow police to ticket, fine or arrest those who sleep in public areas.

On Friday, the conservative majority of the justices disagreed with a group of unhoused people in the city of Grants Pass, Oregon, who argued that a series of laws punishing people for sleeping outside was considered cruel and unusual punishment and in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

“Homelessness is complex. Its causes are many. So may be the public policy responses required to address it,” Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in the majority opinion.

“At bottom, the question this case presents is whether the Eighth Amendment grants federal judges primary responsibility for assessing those causes and devising those responses,” he wrote. “It does not.”

The series of laws, which have become known as “camping bans,” allows police to charge people for sleeping or camping on publicly-owned property. That can include using a blanket or pillow to sleep outside. Several cities and states have already passed laws targeting those who sleep outsidde as they try to reduce their homeless populations.

In her dissent with the court’s two other liberal justices, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said the court’s conservatives ignored the “humanity and dignity” of people experiencing homelessness and instead “almost exclusively” sided with the interests of local governments.

Their decision “leaves the most vulnerable in our society with an impossible choice: Either stay awake or be arrested,” she wrote.

“The Constitution provides a baseline of rights for all Americans rich and poor, housed and unhoused,” Sotomayor added. “This Court must safeguard those rights even when, and

Read more on independent.co.uk