“The Rights of Pursuing Life’s Basic Necessities”

by JC

Rick Gold over at at Montana Legal Eagle reminds us today that the Montana Constitution also guarantees “the rights of pursuing life’s basic necessities” to all people in the state. His recent article, “Security vs Liberty in Missoula MT” gets right to the point:

So maybe, the real issue is this: Missoulians giving up more of our essential liberties on the pretext that our police don’t have enough laws at their disposal to deal with aggressive and/or intimidating behaviors, downtown (only during the summer, of course).

Well, in Missoula, we simply call this situation mere political bull pucky playing ….

Bull pucky indead! Add a Montana State Constitution violation to the list of travesties that the proposed ordinances are going to foist on Montanans. So not only is the sleeping in public ordinance an 8th Amendment violation, it most likely violates the state Constitution.

And welcome to the local blogosphere, Rick. I’ve seen your emails come across the intertubes over the years, but hadn’t seen your digs yet. For those who don’t know Rick, he’s been waging a personal battle here for quite a while:

“My purpose with this blog is to help flesh out the issues in equal protection in Montana’s Court system for low income people in protecting Montanan’s Civil Rights.”

And you can read all about it over at Montana Legal Eagle’s Blog.

And don’t forget that Aug. 12th is the next date for the City Council to take up its two new ordinances in Committee, I believe. Nothing up on the city website yet.

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  1. jim

    If this passes, at least it will get those aggressive firemen off of the street who stop traffic and ask you to put money in their boots every year.

    • JC

      Yah. And how about those Girl Scouts selling cookies?

  2. goofhoulihan

    Girl scouts selling cookie orders with their moms, door to door, is a far cry from being accosted by drunken bums. The comparison’s silly. In case you didn’t know, many cities do have a “Green River Ordinance”.

    • JC

      If you are judging actions by people’s status, then you are violating the constitution. A girl scout grabbing at your sleeve, or yelling at you as you walk down the street is no different, action-wise, than a homeless panhandler doing it.

      And the drunken bum who accosts you already is breaking at least on law–public drunkenness. And if the accosting involves physical force, then that raises to a crime.

      My point being, that there already exist many laws for dealing with public drunkenness. We don’t need another that discriminates by status.




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