California Governor Gavin Newsom Criticizes Court Rulings on Homeless Encampments
Governor Gavin Newsom of California is taking a strong stance against recent court rulings that restrict authorities from clearing homeless encampments. In an interview with POLITICO last week, Newsom expressed his frustration with what he sees as confusing and impractical rulings that worsen the ongoing humanitarian crisis.
The Grants Pass ruling, in particular, has prevented city officials from enforcing ordinances against sleeping on public property. This ruling builds upon the precedent set by Martin v. Boise, which barred cities from criminalizing individuals sleeping in public spaces when there are insufficient beds available for them. The Ninth Circuit recently upheld the Grants Pass ruling, further curtailing California officials’ power to address the growing issue of homeless encampments.
Homelessness has become an increasingly prevalent problem in West Coast cities, fueling public outrage. San Francisco and San Diego, in particular, have seen significant encampments. San Francisco is currently attempting to fight an anti-clearance injunction, and the San Diego City Council recently voted to support the appeal of the Grants Pass ruling. Now, Governor Newsom is joining the fray, making his mark on a legal dispute that carries significant implications for one of California’s most pressing issues.
Newsom has been a vocal critic of judges who limit encampment sweeps, arguing that such moves hinder efforts to move individuals out of dangerous and unsanitary conditions. He reiterated this argument during his pledge to intervene in the Grants Pass case, stating, “People’s lives are at risk.” In a surprising twist, Newsom expressed his hope that the case would reach the Supreme Court, a notable statement for a progressive Democrat.
While the ultimate decision rests with the Supreme Court, it remains to be seen whether they will take up the case. In 2019, the high court declined to hear an appeal of the Boise case, setting a precedent for their reluctance to intervene in similar matters. Nonetheless, the ongoing legal battle between California officials and court rulings on homeless encampments will have far-reaching implications for the state’s approach to the homelessness crisis.