From the Right



There's No Right to Sleep Outdoors

: Betsy Mccaughey on

In a Supreme Court showdown Monday over whether the homeless have a "right" to camp in public, almost no one mentioned the actual victims of that crazy idea. Homeless advocates, including the American Civil Liberties Union, told the court that living on the streets is a "victimless" crime. Victimless?

Everyone who has to step over needles and human poop and navigate around half-conscious humans while walking to work or taking their kids to school is a victim. Every store owner whose entrance is blocked by makeshift cardboard shelters is a victim. Every family that wants to use a park and finds it cluttered with sprawling tents is a victim.

The homeless are more likely to commit violent crimes than people who aren't homeless. The public has every reason to be wary.

Municipalities all over the U.S. are watching City of Grants Pass, Oregon v. Johnson, which challenges a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling barring penalties for sleeping with blankets and other paraphernalia on public property. The 9th Circuit -- known for its left-wing rulings -- says these penalties amount to "cruel and unusual punishment" because the homeless have no choice.

No choice is another whopper. San Francisco authorities report that 60% of homeless individuals living on the street refuse shelter when it's offered.

Here in New York City, every homeless person is guaranteed shelter. When Mayor Eric Adams sends outreach teams from the Department of Homeless Services to the tent encampments, only about 5% take the offer for shelter. The other 95% choose living rough.


Justice Clarence Thomas got closest to this practical truth when he asked if the Grants Pass ordinance criminalizes lacking a home, or the deliberate decision to sleep rough instead of going to a shelter.

A big surprise is who is siding with Grants Pass -- Democratic pols including California Gov. Gavin Newsom, and a long list of big blue cities except -- you guessed it -- New York City.

Grants Pass lawyers explain that the 9th Circuit has "erected a judicial roadblock" affecting virtually every municipality in the West, preventing them from clearing encampments. The results are "crime, fires, the reemergence of medieval diseases, environmental harm, and record levels of drug overdoses, and deaths on public streets."

Phoenix city officials, in a friend-of-the-court brief, complain that 9th Circuit judges are acting like "homeless policy czars," usurping what local governments should decide. Justice Brett Kavanaugh echoed that, warning against having "federal courts micromanaging" homeless policy.


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Copyright 2024 Creators Syndicate, Inc.




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