Justice Alito said “the majority is gambling with the safety of the people of California.”
Read it and hide in your homes because in Obama's America, the right of convicts to live in five-star prisons tops the rights of their victims. And Justice Roberts has once again joined the left wing of the court, as he did over Obamacare.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday refused to block a lower court's decision ordering the state of California to reduce its prison population by about 10,000 inmates by year's end, rejecting Gov. Jerry Brown's argument that the downsizing will put public safety at risk.
You know things are bad when you find yourself to the left of Governor Moonbeam.
The 6-3 decision appears to mean the state is out of legal options and must reduce the prison population to about 110,000 inmates by Dec. 31 - or run the risk of being held in contempt of court, said Donald Specter, a lawyer for the inmates who sued the state over health care in 2001.
Brown and his predecessor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, have consistently fought the 2009 inmate reduction order by a three-judge panel, which stemmed from a ruling that overcrowding in state prisons led to inadequate inmate health care that violates prisoners' constitutional rights.
If California is really hard up, I hear Gitmo has some openings now that Obama is releasing terrorists left and right. It won't accommodate the 10,000 though.
The order was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2011, in a 5-4 decision. This time around, Chief Justice John Roberts joined the majority and ruled against the state.
Not the first time he's done that.
The state has worked to comply with the order, in large part by implementing a program in 2011 that required low-level felons to serve their time in county jails instead of state prisons. That program, known as realignment, has helped reduce the prison population by about 24,000 inmates. In January, Brown declared that the overcrowding and health care problems had been solved and asked the three-judge panel to withdraw its population cap order.
The judges refused and said the state should increase sentence-reduction credits for inmates that demonstrate good behavior; Brown balked and went to the Supreme Court, arguing in the appeal that most of the state's low-risk inmates have already been freed and to go further would put public safety at risk. His appeal has been supported by a number of Democratic lawmakers, four former governors and a number of mayors, including San Francisco's Ed Lee.
The most liberal leaders of the most liberal state in the region understand that freeing large numbers of dangerous felons is well... dangerous.
But we have runaway judicial activism that attempts to dictate to California which inmates it should free.
At least there are a minority of three sane justices on the court who follow the actual Constitution, instead of the one in their heads.
In a biting dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia - joined by Justice Clarence Thomas - wrote that he has opposed the lower court's release order from the start and accused his Supreme Court colleagues of washing their hands of the entire case with their 2011 ruling affirming the lower court's injunction.
"So also today, it is not our fault that California must now release upon the public nearly 10,000 inmates convicted of serious crimes - about 1,000 for every city larger than Santa Ana," he wrote. "As for me, I adhere to my original view of this terrible injunction. It goes beyond what the Prison Litigation Reform Act allows, and beyond the power of the courts. I would grant the stay and dissolve the injunction."
And here's a flashback to 2011.
Justice Scalia called the order affirmed by the majority “perhaps the most radical injunction issued by a court in our nation’s history.” Justice Alito said “the majority is gambling with the safety of the people of California.”
Justice Scalia summarized his dissent, which was pungent and combative, from the bench. Oral dissents are rare; this was the second of the term. Justice Kennedy looked straight ahead as his colleague spoke, his face frozen in a grim expression.
He should. Justice Kennedy will have blood on his hands before his jailbreak is through. As for Justice Roberts, he knew all along that this was wrong.
In a second dissent, Justice Alito, joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., addressed what he said would be the inevitable impact of the majority decision on public safety in California.
He summarized the decision this way, adding italics for emphasis: “The three-judge court ordered the premature release of approximately 46,000 criminals — the equivalent of three Army divisions.”