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Supreme Court agrees to constitutional right to camp on city streets

Conservative Review

So much for the conservative Supreme Court. The same Supreme Court that has been slow to reverse lower court decisions granting cities and states power to thwart federal immigration law suddenly believes that states are vassals of the federal judiciary when it comes to enforcing their own internal public order issues.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court denied an appeal from the city of Boise, Idaho, to reverse a Ninth Circuit ruling that the city cannot close homeless encampments on the streets because it violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. Does it get more radical than that?

The growing trend of public homeless encampment is becoming a major public policy challenge for America’s cities, especially in the western part of the country. As Heather Mac Donald noted on my podcast based on extensive firsthand research of San Francisco’s homeless epidemic, the more a city caters to the culture of vagrancy, the more the public encampment takes root. It has brought with it public disorder, environmental damage, drugs, theft, and violent assaults, threatening the basic peace of city streets. “Tolerating street vagrancy is a choice that cities make; for the public good, in San Francisco and elsewhere, that choice should be unmade,” wrote Mac Donald in her blockbuster report on San Francisco’s homeless crisis.

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