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Is Banning Public Sleeping Cruel and Unusual Punishment? (Salem/Townhall National Radio Commentary) October 3, 2015

Posted by daviddavenport in Op/Eds.

The Obama administration’s Department of Justice is full of surprises, the latest being their opinion that city ordinances banning public sleeping constitute “cruel and unusual punishment” under the Constitution. Although this was merely an opinion submitted to the federal court in Idaho about Boise’s ordinance, cities all over America are right to be concerned.

Local regulations about sleeping in public places are among the few tools cities have in managing the huge problem of the homeless taking over public parks and sidewalks at night. While there is legal precedent that you should not punish someone for their status (addiction, for example), here it is conduct the ordinances deal with.

Yes, we need more shelters and additional tools to deal with homelessness. But we don’t need Washington lawyers trying to engage in social engineering by issuing edicts. As Chief Justice Roberts said in his dissenting opinion in the gay marriage case, “Federal courts (and we could add lawyers) are blunt instruments when it comes to creating rights.”

Link to audio at Townhall.com:

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