U.S. Supreme Court rejects request to block at-risk prisoner transfers

Lawrence Hurley
FILE PHOTO: Children ride scooters across the plaza at the United States Supreme Court, following the government's notice to halt all building tours due to the (COVID-19) coronavirus, on Capitol Hill in Washington

By Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to block a judge's ruling that requires the U.S. government to evaluate moving up to 837 potentially at-risk prisoners out of a federal prison in Ohio due to concerns about the health risks of the coronavirus.

The justices rejected a request by President Donald Trump's administration to put the lower court ruling on hold.

The brief order noted that three of the nine-member court's conservatives - Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch - would have granted the administration's request. The court noted that the administration could renew its request at a later date.

Inmates at the Elkton Correctional Institution filed suit in April saying that the conditions at the facility in eastern Ohio violated their rights under the U.S. Constitution's Eighth Amendment, which bars cruel and unusual punishment.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)