Supreme Court Will Not Ban Governments from Dismantling Homeless Encampments, Former Official Says

A former top U.S. federal official has asserted that the Supreme Court won’t rule that local governments can’t dismantle homeless encampments.

Former foreign service officer James Rogan confidently weighed in on the case in an article in the Washington Examiner.

The case before the high court is City of Grants Pass v Gloria Johnson.

In the case, the defendants assert that homelessness is a state of being like addiction.

They argue that banning homeless encampments is “cruel and unusual.”

Justices will consider “whether the enforcement of generally applicable laws regulating camping on public property constitutes ‘cruel and unusual punishment’ prohibited by the Eighth Amendment.”

It’s hard to fathom the court telling municipalities they can’t take steps to improve their communities and work toward solving the problem of homelessness.

However, stranger things have happened in today’s day and age.

If the justices see banning the encampments as a punishment, it could go against a 1962 precedent in Robinson v. California.

In the 1962 case, the liberal Earl Warren Supreme Court found “that it is unconstitutional for a state to punish a defendant for drug addiction, which is a status rather than an act when the defendant has not engaged in any illegal conduct involving drugs in the state.”

Of course, it could be argued that the homeless are breaking the law by camping on public or private property, which makes the case different from the earlier drug-related case.

Rogan makes that argument to distinguish the current case from the previous one, even while acknowledging the mental health difficulties that cause homelessness and make it difficult to fix as a problem.

California hasn’t been able to solve it even by spending $50,000 a year per homeless person.

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It’s just not something that is easily fixed.

“A local government has the duty and the right to protect its citizens,” he said.

Rogan notes that homeless encampments are just as much a public nuisance and hazard as “a factory spewing toxic chemicals” due to the drugs, crime, and disease they contain.

“Government already has sufficient funds to address homelessness and mental health,” he concluded.

“Local governments have the right under the U.S. system of federalism, to allocate resources as they choose.”

“There is no constitutional right to shelter,” he declared.

“The Supreme Court will not create yet another economic entitlement.”

Rogan seems confident in how the court will rule, but there are no such guarantees with any case.

It makes sense that public safety should be a paramount concern, but just what are governments supposed to do when the homeless refuse to be housed and seem to prefer tent cities to warm shelters and free meals?

It seems that will be up to cities to resolve somehow, no matter what the court decides.

READ MORE – California Loses $24 Billion in Homeless Crisis Funds, Republicans Demand Answers

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By Nick R. Hamilton

Nick has a broad background in journalism, business, and technology. He covers news on cryptocurrency, traditional assets, and economic markets.

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