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Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in Major Homelessness Case

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Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II speaks alongside demonstrators as they protest outside the US Supreme Court in support of the homeless as the Court hears the case of City of Grants Pass v. Johnson that could make it illegal to sleep outside, in Washington, DC, April 22, 2024. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

The Supreme Court heard arguments Monday in its biggest case on homelessness in decades. At issue is whether penalizing unhoused people for camping on public land violates the “cruel and unusual punishment” clause of the 8th Amendment — even if they refuse offers of shelter. The case, Grants Pass v. Johnson, could have massive implications for how California cities address homelessness. Nearly half of all unhoused Americans live in California, according to a report last year by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Affairs. We’ll discuss the arguments and how the Court might rule.


Marisa Kendall, homelessness reporter, CalMatters

Meghan Ryan, professor of law, Southern Methodist University (SMU)


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