The United States Supreme Court (“SCOTUS”) released a decision on June 28, 2024, in City of Grants Pass v. Johnson, 603 U.S. ___ (2024). In that decision, SCOTUS held that local laws restricting camping throughout a jurisdiction on public property or in city parks by unhoused persons is not unconstitutional.

In a 6-3 decision, SCOTUS found the camping ban of the City of Grants Pass, Oregon, which imposes civil penalties on violators, including people experiencing homelessness, is not precluded by the 8th Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.

The SCOTUS majority acknowledged the complex nature of homelessness, including the many causes that can lead a person to being unhoused. But the Court determined those issues are more appropriate to be addressed by public policy approaches, rather than by a judge. Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote for the Court, "Homelessness is complex. Its causes are many. So may be the public policy responses required to address it. 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. It does not."


Leave a comment

Welcome back, !