California to Free 46,000 Prisoners

Here comes the chain gang: The Supreme Court has narrowly upheld a ruling ordering California to release about 46,000 inmates in an attempt to relieve its overcrowded prisons—over a quarter of its incarcerated population. A panel ruled in 2009 that California’s overcrowded penal system was denying inmates adequate medical care as required by the Constitution, and that it was causing “needless suffering and death.” The Supremes’ ruling was issued by its liberal bloc in a decision written by Justice Anthony Kennedy. Justice Antonin Scalia objected vociferously, saying it “takes the federal courts wildly beyond their institutional capacity.”