Letter: ‘Camping’ isn’t mentioned in Martin v. Boise

A recent letter writer’s submission was crafted to suggest that Martin v. Boise (MvB) legalized homeless camping, and the Supreme Court agreed. It didn’t, and they didn’t.

The city of Chico bulldozed the homeless campsites, enforced an illegal sit/lie/sleep ordinance (Boise’s unlawful act), trashed their belongings, and pushed them to the edge of town. A lawsuit was inevitable. Thus Warren v. Chico.

MvB was cited in that lawsuit by Warren’s attorneys; experts at putting their strongest legal case forward. Below is an excerpt from the transcripts published in the ER, July 9, 2021.

“This (Ninth) Circuit has previously held that ordinances such as this are not enforceable, unless there is enough practically available shelter within the City for all unhoused individuals. Martin v. City of Boise… (holding “that ‘so long as there is a greater number of homeless individuals in [a jurisdiction] than the number of available beds [in shelters],’ the jurisdiction cannot prosecute homeless individuals for involuntarily sitting, lying, and sleeping in public.’”).

Note that there is no reference to camping when citing MvB.

But, but, but surely these are competent attorneys who should be shouting to the rooftops: “Homeless Camping Is Legal! Everybody Says It’s In Martin v Boise.”

But they didn’t, because it isn’t. And the Supreme Court didn’t rule on MvB, because they wouldn’t. And if wishes were horses, beggars would ride; but they couldn’t. And some people believe their perceived moral superiority justifies their lies. But it doesn’t.

— Peter Bridge, Glenn


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