Professor Lisa McElroy explored recent and pending Supreme Court decisions during an interview with Radio Times guest host Tracey Matisak on May 27.
The court’s ruling in Brown v. Plata that California must reduce prison overcrowding will force the state to either release a significant number of inmates or undertake costly construction of new prisons, McElroy said.
The decision is not just important in California, said McElroy, who writes the Plain English column on SCOTUSblog.
“This is putting states on notice,” McElroy said, explaining that the justices agreed with a lower court ruling that the Eighth Amendment requires that prisons need not be luxurious but must provide basic habitability.
McElroy also discussed recent and pending rulings in immigration cases, an employment discrimination case involving Wal-Mart and a First Amendment case concerning the sale of violent video games on the program.
Each decision has far-reaching consequences, McElroy said.
“We tend to think about the Supreme Court as being distant,” she said, but each case they decide “affects lots and lots of ordinary people.”