David Coale Speaks to the Houston Chronicle about ACLU Lawsuit against Houston
The ACLU of Texas is suing Houston over ordinances enacted last month that are designed to further limit panhandling and camping by the city’s homeless population. The panhandling ordinance prevents people from impeding roadways, sidewalks or entryways, while the encampment ordinance bans tents and other habitation structures on public property and requires personal belongings inside a three-foot cube. The ACLU claims the ordinances limit free speech and violate other constitutional protections. Lynn Pinker Cox & Hurst attorney David Coale, who is not connected to the case, says the panhandling ordinance could have some weight due to a 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling. The encampment ban, he adds, may be less vulnerable to a legal challenge. "The Constitution gives enormous discretion to cities and states on how to run themselves," Coale said. "The standard basically is, is it rational? … If it's not loopy, it will likely pass that level of scrutiny." Read his comments here.