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Supreme Court maintains that banning homeless people from camping on the street is constitutional

Six of the nine justices, led by Neil Gorsuch, took a position in favor of the ruling barring homeless people from camping on public streets.

Homeless encampment(Unsplash)

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The Supreme Court resolved that state and local laws can prohibit homeless people from camping on the streets, as the measure does not constitute "cruel and unusual punishment.

"Homelessness is complex. Its causes are many. So may be the public policy responses required to address it," said Judge Neil Gorsuch, in testimony collected by ABC News. "At bottom, the question this case presents is whether the Eighth Amendment grants federal judges primary responsibility for assessing those causes and devising those responses. It does not."

Including Justice Gorsuch, six of the nine members of the Supreme Court were in favor, asserting that imposing bans on camping on the street does not violate the Eighth Amendment.

The ruling was rejected by Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson, who argued their decision with that it does constitute "cruel and unusual" punishment that homeless citizens are not allowed to camp on public streets.

"Sleep is a biological necessity, not a crime. Punishing people for their status is ‘cruel and unusual’ under the Eighth Amendment. It is quite possible, indeed likely, that these and similar ordinances will face more days in court," Justice Sotomayor said, in remarks reported by the Associated Press.

The ruling stems from a court proceeding in Grants Pass, Ore., that penalized homeless people for camping on the streets with fines ranging from $75 to $295 that increased if they were not paid.

Three homeless people in the city sued local authorities and succeeded in having this camping ban and, therefore, the penalties for those who did so, revoked.

The case moved up in the justice system: the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals was the one that overturned the sanctions until it reached the Supreme Court which, this Friday, has ruled that the fact that homeless citizens are prohibited from sleeping on the street is not too severe a punishment for them.