Supremes and their Dope in Public Housing
March 28, 2002
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court ruled 8-0 that "government
agencies can use aggressive eviction policies to get rid of
drug users in public housing." This means that if you live
in public housing and you or your family are caught using
or dealing any kind of illegal drugs, the entire family -
grandpa, grandma, and the whole shebang - innocent or not
- are out on the street on their collective asses.
This gives one cause for pause. Didn't old George #41 live
in public housing back when young George #43 was "using"?
And doesn't young George 43 have two daughters that used a
drug (alcohol - that we know of) illegally?Where exactly do
we draw the line? And just who is permitted to step over that
The Supreme Court without dissent, with the exception of
Justice Stephen Breyer who did not take part in the ruling,
said on Tuesday they had no problem with a law that allows
entire families to be evicted from public housing for the
drug use by one member.
Of course, in this world there are winners and then there
are the losers - and some losers are declared winners. But
on Tuesday the losers were four elderly California tenants
who received eviction notices.
The four had challenged the zero-tolerance policy for drugs
in federally subsidized housing in lower courts and won, but
the Supremes dismissed the tenants' arguments that they should
be allowed to have a roof over their heads even though they
proved they were not guilty of any wrongdoing.
Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who doesn't have a worry
in the world - except maybe how to get an unelected president
re-unelected - wrote that the government as a landlord can
control activities of the tenants and said that the "one-strike"
law passed in 1988 amid complaints about crime in public housing
was Congress' answer to drug problems.
The ruling affects ANYONE who lives in public housing, so
ruled the Justices. How is it then that old George H. W. was
not tossed out on his aristocratic blue-nosed butt? Didn't
he live in public housing? And weren't young George W. and
baby brother Jeb coke-sniffing, dope-smoking users of an illegal
Under this law, tenants who are caught with drugs in their
apartments are subject to eviction, even for a first-time
violation - and an entire family can be thrown out on the
street if one person is caught with drugs - even if the offender
is blocks away and everyone else in the household is completely
innocent and knows nothing of the "crime."
An injunction had been filed in Oakland to allow the elderly
tenants to remain in their homes with the case pending - but
just as the Supremes upheld a rigged election, they are now
upholding a law that singles out the poor, elderly, and infirm
as co-defendants in cases where they are innocent of all wrongdoing.
Three of the renters in Oakland now face eviction because
they had relatives that used drugs.
One 75-year-old disabled grandmother doesn't know where she'll
go. Her "crime"? Her grandson was caught smoking marijuana
in a nearby parking lot.
Tough, says Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, who stated
that the "strict liability" policy serves the dual purpose
of putting all tenants on notice that they will be "removed"
- kicked the hell out in the streets - if they do not prevent
drug use by family members, and also protects law-abiding
families from crime and violence in the projects.
It seems the Republican Party in the guise of the Supreme
Court is seeking to confine crime and violence to only protesters
against administration policies. I'd bet my bottom dollar
that Willie Lee, the grandmother who can look forward to being
homeless because of this ruling, is far more honest than Solicitor
General Theodore Olson, who - as stated by columnist Richard
Reeves - announced last week that when the government chooses
to lie, the public's business is none of the public's business.
This was last Monday and Olson argued his position and won
in front of the Supreme Court, saying, "It is easy to imagine
an infinite number of situations where government officials
have reason to give false information out."
No damned kidding.
Who's to say the government didn't lie in this case? If,
for instance, the government wanted to get rid of a few of
us, er, "undesirables," say, who were, er, "suspicious"?
Rehnquist continued, saying drug users and drug crime are,
"a threat to other residents and lead to murders, muggings,
and other forms of violence... it was reasonable for Congress
to permit no-fault evictions in order to provide low-income
housing that is decent... and safe."
So they're tossing this grandmother out on the street because
they are concerned for her safety and to protect her from
murderers and muggings?
A woman by the name of Pearlie Rucker, 63, was kicked out
of her apartment because her mentally ill daughter was caught
with cocaine three blocks from home.
Herman Walker, a 78-year-old stroke victim, will lose his
apartment due to the Supremes' concern for decent and safe
housing because his in-home caseworker was found with drug
paraphernalia. Herman spent part of the day on Tuesday in
a hospital but was later released with no home to return to.
The California courts had overturned Congress' zealous law.
Ninth Court judges set out an "innocent tenants" exception
- but the Supreme Court, exercising their right to reign supreme
and flexing their controlling muscle, overturned the overturning.
The San Francisco lawyer who argued in vain for his poor
clients asked "What sense does it make if a 67-year-old woman
loses her home because she took in her grandchild and the
child did something wrong? If you're poor and drugs are involved
- anything goes."
I object, Your Honor. I contend that if you're RICH and drugs
or any other criminal activity are involved - anything goes.
The administration of Bush #41 put this policy into effect
in 1991, when Bush #43 was still wiping the coke dust from
his nostrils and looking for Jesus.
President Clinton said it all when he said in 1996, "There
is no reason in the world to put the rights of a criminal
before those of a child who wants to grow up safe."
...You listening, George?