California

Ninth Circuit strips sweeping ruling mandating LA house all Skid Row homeless by Oct.

A three-judge panel in the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated a sweeping order mandating the City and County of Los Angeles offer shelter or housing to all homeless residents of skid row by October.

In a ruling, issued Thursday, the panel found that Los Angeles-based Federal Judge David O. Carter abused discretion in granting relief on issues that were not raised by homeless advocates against Los Angeles authorities.

Carter made his sweeping ruling weighing six different claims.

The appeals panel found that Carter’s finding of racial discrimination by government officials were not supported by the complaint waged by homeless advocates, noting that no homeless plaintiff was Black, and that no plaintiff had standing to make race-based claims.

They also found that the plaintiffs never alleged that the city had restricted homeless residents of Skid Row or created a danger to “create an affirmative duty” to protect them.

Another key argument leveled at the trial court level: that the City of Los Angeles violated a key welfare statute by not providing medically-necessary care or assistance to homeless residents.

On appeal, jurists knocked the contention, finding that there was a lack of standing because no individual plaintiff was claimed to have been deprived of medical care.

The only argument jurists did establish standing for the plaintiffs was centered on Americans with Disabilities Act discrimination claims, though they still found there was insufficient evidence to rule in favor of the homeless residents.

“The district court undoubtedly has broad equitable power to remedy legal violations that have contributed to the complex problem of homelessness in Los Angeles,” Obama-appointed jurists Jacqueline Nguyen, John Owens and Michelle T. Friedland wrote of Carter and his sweeping, now stripped, decision.

“But that power must be exercised consistent with its discretionary authority.”

Alex Tavlian is the Executive Editor of The San Joaquin Valley Sun and Executive Director of Valley Future Foundation. You can reach Alex at alex.tavlian@sjvsun.com.