LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The Supreme Court of the United States met Friday to discuss whether the Constitution gives homeless people the right to sleep on the sidewalk.
At issue before the justices is a case from Boise, Idaho in which lawmakers made it illegal to sleep overnight on the sidewalk.
The Ninth Circuit overturned the case and now the Supreme Court will listen to arguments on why they should take up the case.
Los Angeles joined other cities in asking for the court to weigh in and Mayor Eric Garcetti had pointed words when asked about the issue.
“As I said, really solving homelessness is probably going to piss off conservatives and super liberal people,” Garcetti said.
“Conservatives because it will cost money upfront to actually build…At some point when we have enough beds, there might be some people who want to protect people’s rights to sleep on the street. I’m not one of those people.”
Reverend Andy Bales who runs the Union Rescue Mission downtown says the focus needs to be adding more shelters.
“Where should they go?” Bales asked. “These are not just people from out of town who came to enjoy homelessness in our nice weather. More people die of hypothermia in Los Angeles than die in New York City and San Francisco combined. These are our neighbors, these are Angelenos.”
The case has triggered a passionate response. “The bigger issue is, should there be that many homeless people?” said Southern California resident Chris Smith.
Once homeless himself, Smith says that city and state leaders need to focus on the bigger picture — housing prices.
“Honestly I work three jobs to pay for a one-bedroom apartment. I get it. I’ve been homeless,” said Smith. “I slept on the street for like two years. I just got outpriced. My neighborhood got gentrified.”
A city council meeting was held in Los Angeles Friday but no comments were made by councilmembers regarding the proposal.