Feds: It’s unconstitutional to ban the homeless from sleeping outside

Such laws, the DOJ argues, violate the 8th amendment protections against cruel and unusual punishment, making them unconstitutional. By weighing in on this case, the DOJ’s first foray in two decades into this still-unsettled area of law, the federal government is warning cities far beyond Boise and backing up federal goals to treat homelessness more humanely.

“It’s huge,” says Eric Tars, a senior attorney for the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, which originally filed the lawsuit against Boise, alongside Idaho Legal Aid Services.