Courtesy Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images By Permission

Can they stay with you?

A bitterly divided Supreme Court today upheld a lower court ruling that California must reduce its prison population by at least 30,000 to alleviate overcrowding.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, joined by the four liberal members of the court, acknowledged that the order is “unprecedented” in its “sweep and extent” but said that the crowded conditions amounted to violations of prisoners’ constitutional rights against cruel and unusual treatment and must be remedied.

Kennedy said that the state could ask for an extension of the original two-year deadline to five years, but that the state should begin to devise a system to select prisoners “least likely to jeopardize public safety.”

The four conservative justices issued two separate dissents. Justice Antonin Scalia, joined by Justice Clarence Thomas, read his dissent from the bench, saying the majority’s decision, “affirms what is perhaps the most radical injunction issued by a court in our nation’s history.” The order “ignores bedrock limitations on the power” of judges and “takes federal courts wildly beyond their institutional capacity.”

Justice Samuel Alito, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, “The Constitution does not give federal judges the authority to run state penal systems.” Alito said that the three-judge order would lead to the premature release of criminals, the number of which is “equivalent of three Army divisions.”

The GAO put the number of illegal aliens in California state prisons at about 27,000 in 2008, or about 10% of the inmate population. The Feds don’t want them deported to stand trial. Those 27,000 would satisfy 90% of the Supreme’s ruling.

  1. MikeN says:

    >equivalent of three Army divisions.”

    So 90% are illegals, of which you want to deport maybe 3/4. Then for the other 32% you do operation dirty dozen.

  2. MikeN says:

    With this ruling, California has gone from sending a message of Three Strikes and You’re Out in jail for the rest of your life, to there’s no room in prison, do whatever crime you want.

  3. Mr. Fusion says:

    #22, Lyin’ Mike,

    Not quite. The message to California is that if you are going to send someone to prison for the rest of their life for stealing a DVD, then you better be able to pay the societal costs of prison. California gets to decide who is released.

    But then you would have known that if you read more than the headline.

  4. Angel H. Wong says:

    In the end it’s all like they say:

    Steal a chicken and you’ll rot in prison for 20 years.

    Steal a billion dollars and you’ll be untouched by the authorities.

  5. davedavis256 says:

    I’d be concerned about the DOC letting out some real monsters to justify their absurd police state budget when something bad happens. There are plenty of people with petty probation violations (e.g. pot smoking) to release.

  6. MikeN says:

    #23 Mr Confusion, I said the message from California to potential killers, not the message from the Supreme Court.

  7. JR Dobbs says:

    Execute all the violent criminals, humiliate all the petty criminals, rehabilitate all the addicts and deport all the illegals. Then we’ll talk.

  8. foobar says:

    I don’t know about this. Prisons are one of the few growth businesses in the US. This can’t be good for the economy, right?

  9. bobbo, Republicans are all Lying Scum Suckers says:

    #27–JRDobbs==bravo. Succinct. Rational. Pragmatic. and still room for you and I to be on opposite sides of all remaining questions.

    well done.

  10. msbpodcast says:

    #27, hail the mighty Church of the Sub-Genius.

  11. Mr. Fusion says:

    #26, Lyin’ Mike,

    #23 Mr Confusion, I said the message from California to potential killers, not the message from the Supreme Court.

    No you didn’t. Caught in another lie.

  12. MikeN says:

    #31, that earns you the title of Dr. Confusion.

  13. bobbo, Republicans.......................why? says:

    Well, I let the dispute go the 1-2 time but gave it a review after MikeN’s detailed defense at #32.

    Mr Fusion–my vote goes with MikeN. He is talking about the “message” from California, you are talking about the message from the SCt so you are more disjointed than he in the mix of things.

    Now, I think Mike is lyin’ at #22 when he takes the position that the message is that criminals can do whatever they like but that is a different lie than the one you claim.

    No—there is no charge. But nothing is free.

  14. rwrussell824 says:

    You can’t just lock people up without feeding them or giving them proper medical treatment no more than denying US citizens the same privileges. True they are criminals whose actions rips the fabric of inno- cent peoples lives. Do you seriously want to change a criminals’ way of thinking? then I suggest something that would hit at the lower to non violate offenders . CANING. If we can take a person’s life then why not cane them for actions that could lead up to worse actions?