In a setback for California Gov. Jerry Brown, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block a court order that he release 9,600 prison inmates, the Los Angeles Times reports. The 6-3 decision moves the state closer to relocating or freeing prisoners by the end of the year. The state will pursue the appeal, but the ruling was a disappointment for Brown, who is crusading against a three-judge panel that consistently rules that overcrowded prisons violate inmate rights.
The panel has ordered Brown to bring the number of inmates down to 112,164 by the end of the year. Brown told the justices that the state has improved the treatment of inmates, eased crowding by keeping tens of thousands of prisoners in county custody, and spent hundreds of millions of dollars to improve prison health care. Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissented.