Well, maybe the end of the world is coming after all, if you're the law-and-order type in California. The Supreme Court has ordered the release of up to 46,000 inmates because of prison overcrowding:
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, speaking for the majority, said California's prisons had "fallen short of minimum constitutional requirements" because of overcrowding. As many as 200 prisoners may live in gymnasium, he said, and as many as 54 prisoners share a single toilet.
Kennedy insisted that the state had no choice but to release more prisoners. The justices, however, agreed that California officials should be given more time to make the needed reductions.
In dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia called the ruling "staggering" and "absurd."
He said the high court had repeatedly overruled the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals for ordering the release of individual prisoners. Now, he said, the majority were ordering the release of "46,000 happy-go-lucky felons." He added that "terrible things are sure to happen as a consequence of this outrageous order." Justice Clarence Thomas agreed with him.
David Savage writes this story at the Los Angeles Times: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/wire/sc-dc-0524-court-prisons-web-20110523,0,5716379.story (Photo: Gary Friedman/LA Times)