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9th Circuit Court lifts injunction protecting SF homeless encampments

Small homeless encampment in San Francisco
Lynn Friedman
Flickr / Creative Commons
Small homeless encampment in San Francisco

Back in February, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an injunction against San Francisco, in a decision by Magistrate Judge Donna Ryu.

The injunction argued that getting rid of homeless encampments, without providing people shelter, violated their Eighth Amendment rights, which protects against cruel and unusual punishment. But on Monday, that injunction was overturned by the court.

That’s because the Supreme Court’s decision in June overturned the legal precedent that this injunction also relied upon. So, now, the 9th Circuit Court has to follow the Supreme Court’s decision.

The injunction originally came from a 2022 lawsuitagainst the city by the Coalition on Homelessness and the ACLU. The plaintiffs in that case argued that the city was violating the civil rights of unhoused people.

Representatives from the Coalition said that this new move shouldn’t have an immediate impact, because the city still has its own laws which require giving offers of shelter before clearing an encampment. Before, this requirement was backed by both local law and the federal court injunction. With the injunction lifted, San Francisco is now only obligated by its laws on this issue, without the additional enforcement of a higher court order.

In a Board of Supervisors meeting this week, Mayor London Breed said that the city will still lead with offers of service to unhoused people. However, she said the city can now be “firmer” with those who refuse those services.

I love telling stories in sound and script. Currently doing my Masters of Journalism at Berkeley. Born in Pakistan, raised in Canada, and live in Oakland.