“Staggering” and “Absurd” Decision from SCOTUS on Prison Release

By Lloyd the Idiot

Jutice Antonin Scalia has it right again, calling a Supreme Court decision requiring the release of more than 30,000 prisoners in California “staggering” and “absurd.” 

Although the majority opinion, authored by Justice Kennedy, cites constitutional shortcomings in the overcrowding of California prisons, Scalia puts the situation in proper perspective, writing simply “terrible things are sure to happen as a consequence of this outrageous order” which he characterized as “the most radical injunction in our Nation’s history.”

He couldn’t be more right.  This perversion of the rights secured by 8th Amendment is certain to lead directly to the rape, robbery and murder of many innocent people.  And all so that these convicted felons don’t have to live in a gymnasium or wait for their free health care.


  • Loudoun Insider says:

    Read more about this today – absolutely ridiculous.

  • LloydTheIdiot says:

    I wish I had more time to do a full discussion of the dissents by Scalia and Alito. They were fantastic. Perfect description of the role of courts in setting social policy, which is, basically, they shouldn’t be involved.

  • Good for you for reading actual opinions, Lloyd. Many lawyers (including me) lament the speed with which lay observers will form opinions about a decision without ever stopping to read it first. For those who will follow your example, the decision is online at the LII’s Web Site.

    I, too, read Scalia’s dissent. He’s gone completely off the reservation, it appears, putting his personal notions about what is or is not a good idea ahead of the constitution. He’s also decided that, when he doesn’t like the facts he has in the record, he is free to make up his own, even to the point of demonstrating his psychic abilities, as with this gem from his dissent:

    “But the idea that the three District Judges in this case relied solely on the credibility of the testifying expert witnesses is fanciful. Of course they were relying largely on their own beliefs about penology and recidivism.” [emphasis as in original]

    Watch out, district judges! Antonin Scalia can read your minds!

    What Scalia largely ignores in his dissent, as he goes on and on about the evils of “structural injunctions” and judges taking control over prisons, is that this case comes at the end of violations of court orders to solve the problems the case addresses spanning over a decade. If California had taken any of the many opportunities it had, starting in the last century, to abide by prior decisions and fix its prisons, this case would never have reached the Supremes. Much easier, of course, to focus only on the end result of California’s flagrant failures of many years, and ignore the long, slow, deliberate process that courts tried to use in all that time to avoid this final outcome. (The majority opinion is where you get the part Scalia leaves out. Everyone should read that, too.)

  • LloydTheIdiot says:

    Alito’s dissent picks up where Scalia’s leaves off, addressing the more technical problems with the district court’s decision as well as rebutting the majority’s position. Also, Stevens, you’ll note that the SC has repeatedly smacked down the Ninth Circuit for crazy prison opinions like this.

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