Imagine a troop of U.S. marshals trying to move aside the cadre of California Highway Patrol officers assigned to protect Gov. Jerry Brown and carry him off to a federal lockup.
Picture those same marshals or companies of federalized National Guard troops confronting guards at the gates of state prisons from San Quentin to Chino, demanding the release of thousands of convicts.
Those are two of the more extreme potential scenarios that could eventually play out if the constitutional crisis that appears imminent over California’s crowded prisons isn’t defused sometime soon. Great theater, maybe, but destructive both to public safety and the public’s faith in American government.
The latest harsh salvo in the war of legal briefs between Brown and a three-man panel of federal judges demanding even more prisoner releases than the 24,000-plus the governor has okayed over the last year and a half came from the jurists...