Governance, Public Safety Supreme Court, Homelessness
February 8th, 2024 Podcast by Manhattan Insights

Homelessness at the Supreme Court: A Chance for Legal Sanity | Elizabeth Mitchell & Stephen Eide

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision to hear the case of Grants Pass v. Johnson has brought homelessness back into the national legal spotlight. The case revolves around the question of whether the homeless have a constitutional right to camp on public property, and its outcome could overturn prior lower court rulings that have contributed to the West Coast's homelessness crisis.

Six years ago, the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco first ruled in Martin v. Boise that imposing criminal penalties for sleeping and camping in public violated the constitution. Since that decision, the amount of recorded homeless and deaths among homeless people has increased dramatically in affected states. Moreover, lawsuits brought by residents frustrated with homeless encampments in their neighborhoods have forced some cities to keep streets clear of camps, further complicating adherence to the Ninth Circuit's judgments.

The Supreme Court's ruling, expected later this year, will shape how cities address the challenge of homelessness in America.

Manhattan Institute senior fellow Stephen Eide discusses the potential impact on homelessness policies with Liz Mitchell, a partner at Umhoffer, Mitchell and King and lead attorney for the LA Alliance for Human Rights in a historic lawsuit forcing the City and County of Los Angeles to address homelessness. She was formerly an attorney with the LA City Attorney’s Office in the Police Litigation Unit and was a prosecutor where she handled criminal cases focusing on violent and sexual crimes.

Related reading:
A Chance for Legal Sanity on Homelessness, City Journal online, by Judge Glock
Pursue an Orderly Streets Agenda, City Journal, by Stephen Eide
Profile page: Elizabeth Mitchell, Umhofer, Mitchell & King LLP