Lefty SCOTUS Justice Says Quiet Part Out Loud in Argument Over Huge Homeless Case

News & Politics

Ever since the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 2018 that cities can’t boot out homeless in encampments on public sidewalks, parks, and freeway exits unless there’s a shelter bed for them, the result has been homeless and drug addiction chaos on the West Coast, Messed Coast™. Billions of dollars have been spent and lost. Now the U.S. Supreme Court has been asked to overrule the decision and allow cities to prevent camping on the streets and public spaces.

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The decision on paper has been an unmitigated disaster on the real mean streets of Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, L.A., San Diego, and little old Grants Pass, Oregon, where the U.S. Supreme Court took up the appeal by the city over its no-camping ordinance. Last year, the 9th Circuit federal court slapped down the city’s attempt to regulate long-term camping because it constitutes ”cruel and unusual punishment” under the 8th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. 

California has spent and lost billions of dollars to do something about the homeless crisis. A recent audit showed that Gavin Newsom’s government didn’t keep track of the money. Because of consequence-free lifestyles of the homeless and drug addicts , homeless tourists have swarmed to California. The state hosts nearly 30% of the nation’s entire homeless population, though some believe it’s much higher. Nearly 70% of those people live outside, in tents, or in RVs. 

And under “Martin v. Boise,” they can do little about it.

Indeed, this case has been disastrous. When given a chance to mitigate or toss “Martin v. Boise” last year when Grants Pass appealed it, the liberal wing of the 9th Circuit Court whiffed. 

Related: West Coast, Messed Coast™ — 9th Circuit Judges Promise More Tent Cities for Everyone!

The scathing dissent by the more conservative wing asked the San Francisco-based jurists to look out the window to see what their decision had wrought. 

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During Monday’s extended oral arguments, while arguing against one side of the case, which she often does during oral arguments, Justice Sonia Sotomayor let it slip that 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decisions are often ridiculous and wrong. She said it more nicely, however. Instead of calling it the 9th Circus Court of Appeals as many court watchers do, Sotomayor blurted out that  ”some of the 9th Circuit’s decisions are not rational” before she caught herself and redirected her comments. 

This is one of the few things she’s been right about since being named to the bench by Barack Obama. 

In one of her colloquies with Grants Pass attorney Theane Evangelis, Sotomayor summed up the liberal wing’s concern when she asked, “Where do we put [the homeless] if every city, every village, every town lacks compassion and passes a law identical to this?” And, continuing in her how long have you been beating your wife way, she asked, “Where are they supposed to sleep? Are they supposed to kill themselves, not sleeping?” 

She asked if anyone sleeping on a blanket could get arrested. “You don’t arrest babies who have blankets over them; you don’t arrest people sleeping on blankets at the beach” she averred before mentioning how she liked to sleep at the beach

Related: Remember the ‘Homeless’ Addict Who Said Portland ‘Was Loving Them to Death’? We’ve Got an Update.

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There’s nothing in the law that criminalizes homelessness,” the Grants Pass attorney said. 

In Monday’s hearing, Justice Brett Kavanaugh gave a tell that he works with the homeless with his comment about the number of homeless versus beds and how homeless people sometimes don’t want to be sheltered. “This can be a challenging issue of [people not wanting help], I know,” he said.

Chief Justice John Roberts pushed back some on the government’s attorney who said, “By prohibiting sleeping, you can’t live in Grants Pass.” He said they were “banished” from the city. Roberts replied dryly, “Banishment is a strange word when you’re talking about something [more homeless services in a town] ten minutes away.”

Liberal but not insane Justice Elena Kagan was concerned about whether homelessness is status or conduct that the city said was able to be ticketed. “Breathing is conduct too. Sleeping is kind of like breathing in public,” because every human has to do it. 

There are legitimate concerns about homelessness as everyone knows. Something in our societal structure switched off in the last 20 years or so, making anti-social behavior acceptable — a life choice with all of its externalities that the rest of society must tolerate. We used to try to dissuade or punish behavior such as drug taking on the street. Now law-abiding citizens are asked to conform or risk being called intolerant. 

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But tolerating bad behavior is bad for society. It’s bad for the individual to be hopelessly addicted and without hope—that is not the natural or metaphysical state of things. Without hope, you are nothing but a vessel. We see them on the streets all the time. 

When homeless outreach was done by the religious community, its emphasis was on healing people from their addictions and their estrangement from their family and community. 

Related: Federal Lawsuit Targets ‘Incoherent’ Portland for Ignoring the Disabled to Enable Drugged Out ‘Campers’

Now that it’s a governmental cash cannon that has been aimed at the problem there’s a distortion in the response. The government has made the homeless industrial complex a money-making bonanza for NGOs. Where’s the incentive to solve the problem when the problem is a cash cow? 

There are drug and alcohol addictions that come with a large portion of the homeless population and they make cities much less safe for the law-abiding citizens. Oregon has made a step toward fixing this by re-criminalizing (barely) taking hard drugs in public places. Unfortunately, the same woke cities that passed these dumb policies are the ones that got rid of cops so enforcement is an issue. 

Grants Pass’s attorneys called the 9th Circuit’s ruling a “failed experiment which has fueled the spread of encampments while harming those it purports to protect.”

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Exactly right.

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