Supreme Court affirms homeless peoples' right to be on public property

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to let Boise ban people from sleeping rough.

The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Boise would be violating the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishments by enforcing criminal penalties under its anti-camping ordinance when its three homeless shelters are full.

“The state may not criminalize conduct that is an unavoidable consequence of being homeless -- namely sitting, lying, or sleeping on the streets,” the 9th Circuit said.

State abuse of the homeless is one of the nastier trends in 21st century governance—the end is usually accomplished by more subtle means (pictured) than criminalization.