Schwarzenegger rejected the board's decision after concluding Shaputis remained dangerous. Shaputis challenged that decision and prevailed in a second ruling by an appeals court.
Shaputis has remained in custody pending the Supreme Court's action.
Unlike Lawrence, whose crime was an "isolated" event spurred by emotional distress, Shaputis' wife's "murder was the culmination of many years of . . . violent and brutalizing behavior toward the victim, his children, and his previous wife," George wrote.
Chin, Baxter and Corrigan said in a concurring opinion that they saw no basis to distinguish the two parole cases and observed that Lawrence had been convicted of first-degree murder, whereas Shaputis was convicted of second degree.
UC Irvine Law Professor Carrie L. Hempel, who represented Lawrence as part of a legal clinic at USC, said the court's decision "sends a clear message to prisoners that . . . if they work really hard to rehabilitate themselves they are going to get some justice in the justice system," Hempel said.
But Assistant Atty. Gen. Julie L. Garland, who represented the governor in the case against Lawrence, said she was surprised and disappointed.
"Hopefully it won't be opening the door for a lot of life inmates to get out," she said.
When a convicted murderer is granted a release date by the Board of Parole Hearings, the governor has the ability to reverse it.
Since taking office in late 2003, Schwarzenegger, a Republican, has been far more generous with parole grants than his predecessor, Gray Davis, a Democrat who allowed only nine inmates to be released in nearly four years.
Schwarzenegger has permitted 192 inmates given life sentences to be released on parole, according to his office. Those prisoners represented only about 1% of the more than 16,000 inmates, most of them murderers, who appeared before the Board of Parole Hearings during that time.
Inmates' lawyers have long complained that the state denies parole to convicts who have proven their rehabilitation or become so old and sick that they no longer pose a threat to the public.
Times researcher Maloy Moore contributed to this report.