Street Law, Inc. and The Supreme Court Historical Society present

Landmark Cases of the U.S. Supreme Court

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The Decision in Dickerson v. United States

The Majority Opinion

In the 7 to 2 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States found that the appeals court was wrong. Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote that Miranda was a “constitutional decision” of the Supreme Court and such decisions can not be overturned by a law passed by Congress. He said that whether or not members of the Court agreed with the Miranda decision, it was now law and that “the principles of stare decisis weigh heavily against overruling it now…”  He noted that the Miranda warnings are a routine police practice now and have become a part of our national culture.

The Dissenting Opinion

The dissenting justices disagreed.  They felt that the Miranda warnings are not requirements under the Constitution. They are procedural safeguards that were dictated by the Court in that decision.  Because the Miranda warnings are procedural safeguards and not constitutional mandates, Congress has the authority to overrule and modify them.  Since a law that dismisses Miranda warnings in some instances doesn’t violate the Constitution, Congress had the authority to pass it.

< Miranda v. Arizona