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Appeals court strikes down sweeping order to house LA's skid row homeless

Benjamin Oreskes and Maura Dolan, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

LOS ANGELES — A panel of judges from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated a judicial order that would have required Los Angeles to offer some form of shelter or housing to the entire homeless population of skid row by October.

The order, which was issued by U.S. District Judge David O. Carter in the spring, sent shock waves through local government as officials scrambled to figure out how to comply. It was quickly appealed by the city and county of Los Angeles.

The ruling from the 9th Circuit found that the district court “abused its discretion,” and had ruled on matters that were not before it. The panel also ruled that the plaintiffs, a coalition of downtown business owners, residents and some formerly homeless people, lacked standing in the case. The judges did find that the plaintiffs’ allegations related to disability discrimination had standing but there was not enough evidence to rule in favor of them.


“The district court undoubtedly has broad equitable power to remedy legal violations that have contributed to the complex problem of homelessness in Los Angeles,” Judges Jacqueline Nguyen, John Owens and Michelle T. Friedland wrote. “But that power must be exercised consistent with its discretionary authority.”

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