Can’t Legally Attack The Homeless? California Explores Benefits of Illegality

exterior doors secured by chain and padlock
Darphane dcp 2829 photo by Nevit is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 Deed

Homeless California residents (a contradiction in terms if there ever was one) may once again be forced to rely upon their ‘fairy godmother.’ That entity would be the Ninth Judicial Circuit. That court has made a practice of protecting the rights of the unhoused for a broad sweep of U.S. western states, including Alaska and Hawaii.

Governments in this legal jurisdiction have exercised their ingenuity by coming up with ways to treat people who are unhoused as punishable illegals1.

The Ninth Circuit has for several years been a legal bastion protecting the rights of people who are unhoused on the U.S.’s west coast to camp on public property when there is no other place to shelter.

The Ninth Circuit has agreed to assess the legal basis, if any, of recent government efforts to make being unhoused illegal.

For a taste of governments’ behaviours, read more from a recent ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) publication: Ninth Circuit Clears Way For Unhoused Residents To Challenge Unlawful Policies In Orange County Shelters


  1. For those interested in how widespread these practices can be, read this example from the United Kingdom in the INDEPENDENT: Suella Braverman demands crackdown on tents for rough sleepers claiming it’s a ‘lifestyle choice’