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Rhetoric, or Just the Facts, M’am?

It was a lively debate as the Justices considered whether a District Court in California can compel the release of inmates from overcrowded prisons.

As the lawyer for California began his arguments by raising the specter of “between 36,000 and 45,000 inmates” released into the population Justice Sotomayor asked him to “slow down the rhetoric and give me concrete details”.  But after 80 minutes of arguments from both sides the lawyer, Carter Phillips, said in concluding “I guarantee you that there is going to be more crime and people are going to die on the streets of California.”

And the prisoners’ lawyer, Donald Specter, got it from Justice Alito : “If this order goes into effect, we will see. We will see, and the people of California will see”.

The case is Schwarzenegger v. Plata

Lyle Denniston’s analysis here.

Mortal Kombat & James Madison

SC101102wideA few sketches and quotes from today’s Supreme Court arguments on violent video games, Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association :
    “Some of the Grimm’s fairy tales are quite grim, to tell you the truth”Justice Scalia

California’s Deputy Attorney General Zackery P. Morazzini arguing for petitioners.

 “Well, I think what Justice Scalia wants to know is what James Madison thought about video games”Justice Alito

Paul M. Smith makes the First Amendment argument for respondents.

 “. . . Mortal Kombat, . . .which I am sure half the clerks who work for us spent considerable amounts of time in their adolescence playing.”Justice Kagan

NYT story here.