Bentz joins those filing with SCOTUS on homeless case

By on Friday, March 8th, 2024 in Columbia Basin News More Top Stories

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Cliff Bentz (R-Ontario) and five of his peers filed a brief this week calling for the Supreme Court of the United States to overturn the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that declared the appeals court ruling against the city of Grants Pass “makes it practically impossible” for municipalities to combat the crimes that can occur near homeless encampments.

That brief is one of dozens being filed by members of both parties backing the city of Grants Pass petition to hear the case. The hearing will be next month. The lower court ruling forced cities, counties, and states back to the drawing boards as it ordered Grants Pass to provide low-bar entry to enough shelters for its homeless population.

The homeless population in the United States has grown by 12 percent over the last year according to one federal report based on the yearly point-in-time survey. More than half of those are in New York, Florida, Washington, and California. Both Washington and California are within the appeals court jurisdiction.

Pendleton Mayor John Turner says city officials will be watching the Supreme Court proceedings closely.

“We are very interested in the Supreme Court ruling on this case because it is the foundation for our Right to Rest ordinance,” he said. “If the Supreme Court changes the ruling in any way, the city will have to react. It is too early to speculate what our reaction will be.”