Overton v. Bazzetta, 539 U.S. 126, 13 (2003)

Page:   Index   Previous  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  Next



Thomas, J., concurring in judgment

are protected against invidious racial discrimination by the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, Lee v. Washington, 390 U. S. 333 (1968); and they enjoy the protections of due process, Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U. S. 539 (1974); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U. S. 519 (1972). Because prisoners retain these rights, '[w]hen a prison regulation or practice offends a fundamental constitutional guarantee, federal courts will discharge their duty to protect constitutional rights.' Procunier v. Martinez, 416 U. S., at 405-406." Ibid.

It was in the groundbreaking decision in Morrissey v. Brewer, 408 U. S. 471 (1972), in which we held that parole revocation is a deprivation of liberty within the meaning of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, that the Court rejected the view once held by some state courts that a prison inmate is a mere slave. See United States ex rel. Miller v. Twomey, 479 F. 2d 701, 711-713 (CA7 1973). Under that rejected view, the Eighth Amendment's proscription of cruel and unusual punishment would have marked the outer limit of the prisoner's constitutional rights. It is important to emphasize that nothing in the Court's opinion today signals a resurrection of any such approach in cases of this kind. See ante, at 131. To the contrary, it remains true that the "restraints and the punishment which a criminal conviction entails do not place the citizen beyond the ethical tradition that accords respect to the dignity and intrinsic worth of every individual." 479 F. 2d, at 712.

Justice Thomas, with whom Justice Scalia joins, concurring in the judgment.

I concur in the judgment of the Court because I would sustain the challenged regulations on different grounds from those offered by the majority.

Page:   Index   Previous  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  Next

Last modified: October 4, 2007