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U.S. Supreme Court upholds order to release 46,000 California inmates

May 23, 2011 |  8:12 am

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday upheld an injunction by a three-judge panel ordering California to release about 46,000 inmates over the next two years to ease overcrowding.

Click to read the decision The narrow 5-4 decision will affect more than a quarter of the state prison population. It was written by Justice Anthony Kennedy and backed by the court's liberal bloc.

At issue was whether federal judges had the power to order the release of state prisoners as a necessary means of curing a constitutional violation.

Read more about the Supreme Court decision regarding the state prison population.


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-- James Oliphant in Washington, D.C.

Photo: Inmates at the Mule Creek State Prison walk near their bunk beds in 2007 in a gymnasium that was modified to house prisoners in Ione, Calif., because of overcrowding. Credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images