Brown v. Plata

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Judge Scalia wrote a dissent in response to the recent Brown v. Plata ruling that called for the release of 46,000 California prisoners:

Today the Court affirms what is perhaps the most radical injunction issued by a court in our Nation’s history: an  order requiring California to release the staggering number of 46,000 convicted criminals.

There comes before us, now and then, a case whose proper outcome is so clearly indicated by tradition and common sense, that its decision ought to shape the law, rather than vice versa. One would think that, before allowing the decree of a federal district court to release 46,000 convicted felons, this Court would bend every effort to read the law in such a way as to avoid that outrageous result. Today, quite to the contrary, the Court disregards stringently drawn provisions of the governing statute, and traditional constitutional limitations upon the power of a federal judge, in order to uphold the absurd.

The proceedings that led to this result were a judicial travesty. I dissent because the institutional reform the District Court has undertaken violates the terms of the governing statute, ignores bedrock limitations on the power of Article III judges, and takes federal courts wildly beyond their institutional capacity.


  1. Doctor Pat says:

    Based on my 15-second skim of the article, it seems that it is prisoners with psych problems who are being released.

    Any prisoner in California is advised to start wearing their underpants on their head.

  2. Isegoria says:

    Incidentally, the claim that prisoners are getting inadequate mental health care assumes that somehow this mental health care is measurably improving their mental health.

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