The world, especially that part of it known as California, just became exponentially more dangerous. By a 5-4 majority the Supreme Court has ordered California to release 46,000 convicted criminals because of prison conditions. Justice Antonin Scalia called it “perhaps the most radical injunction issued by a court in our Nation’s history.”
The Wall Street Journal notes:
In Brown v. Plata, a 5-4 Court majority ruled that overcrowding in California prisons had led to inadequate health-care services and therefore violated the Eighth Amendment rights of prisoners, upholding a decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The class of inmates who sued the state alleged no specific harms, merely that their conditions of incarceration were “systemic” and had the potential to be unconstitutional.
Justice Samuel Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts filed a dissent on technical grounds, but Justice Scalia’s dissent, joined by Justice Clarence Thomas, best dismantles what he calls “a judicial travesty” and an “outrageous result.” Justice Scalia notes that the Justices are now decreeing how the political branches of government must be run, disregarding the Constitution’s core Article III checks on judicial authority. The courts are neither qualified nor empowered to be policy makers and “long-term administrators of complex social institutions” such as schools or prisons, he writes.
This is a dangerous decision. The get out of jail free card will almost certainly lead to more crime in California-and any other locale lucky enough to receive some of these convicts. Yes, we should strive for humane conditions in prisons, but this decision puts the rights of those society has deemed dangerous over the rights of the law-abiding citizens. Did I say rights? I would think we might agree that criminals forfeit certain rights. Next thing you know, felons will be voting. Oh, I forgot, some “idealists” propose this very measure. All I can say is this: Lock your doors, Californians!