dispel the compulsion inherent in custodial surroundings, no statement obtained
from the defendant can truly be the product of his free choice."
Warren summed up what has come to be referred to as the Miranda rights: "The person in custody must, prior to interrogation, be clearly informed that he has the right to remain silent, and that anything he says will be used against him in court; he must be clearly informed that he has the right to consult with a lawyer and to have the lawyer with him during interrogation, and that, if he is indigent, a lawyer will be appointed to represent him."
If a suspect indicates he wishes to remain silent, Warren said, the interrogation must stop. If he says he wants a lawyer, the interrogation must stop until a lawyer is present.
Justice John Harlan, joined by Justices Potter Stewart and Byron White, dissented.
"I believe the decision of the [Supreme] Court represents poor constitutional law and entails harmful consequences for the country at large," Harlan said. "How serious these consequences may prove to be only time can tell."
Conservatives immediately condemned the ruling, and in 1968 that opposition led Congress to enact a statute that purported to overturn Miranda, at least in federal cases. The statute said statements could be used, even without a Miranda warning, if they were made voluntarily.
However, in 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 7-2 vote, struck down the statute.
The majority opinion by Chief Justice William Rehnquist said "Miranda and its progeny" was a "constitutional decision by the court" and as such could not be overturned by Congress.
"We hold that Miranda, being a constitutional decision of this [Supreme] Court, may not be in effect overruled by an act of Congress," Rehnquist said, "and we decline to overrule Miranda ourselves. We therefore hold that Miranda and its progeny in this court govern the admissibility of statements made during custodial interrogation in both state and federal courts."
The majority opinion evoked a bitter dissent from Justice Antonin Scalia, who was joined by Justice Clarence Thomas.
"Those to whom judicial decisions are an unconnected series of judgments that produce either favored or disfavored results will doubtless greet today's decision as a paragon of moderation, since it declines to overrule Miranda vs. Arizona," Scalia wrote. "Those who understand the judicial process will appreciate that today's decision is not a reaffirmation of Miranda, but a radical revision of the most significant element of Miranda [as of all cases]: the rationale that gives it a permanent place in our jurisprudence."
To "justify today's agreed-upon result, the court must adopt a significant new, if not entirely comprehensible, principle of constitutional law," Scalia said. "As the court chooses to describe that principle, statutes of Congress can be disregarded, not only when what they prescribe violates the Constitution, but when what they prescribe contradicts a decision of this court that 'announced a constitutional rule.' ... The only thing that can possibly mean in the context of this case is that this court has the power, not merely to apply the Constitution but to expand it, imposing what it regards as useful 'prophylactic' restrictions upon Congress and the states. That is an immense and frightening
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