Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (June 13, 1966), was a landmark decision by the Warren Court requiring the police to warn suspects of their rights before conducting custodial interrogations. These warnings, known as the "Miranda warnings," include:
- the right to remain silent
- the right to have an attorney present
- the right to have an attorney appointed if desired
- the right to know that anything said can and will be used against the accused
Conservatives objected strenuously to this decision, which freed many criminals who had not received these warnings. This has led some to regard Miranda as a step towards subordinating the substantive criminal law to overzealous proceduralism, raising concerns about whether the guilty are actually punished.
A majority of the Rehnquist Court was on record with the opinion that the U.S. Constitution does not require a reading of the Miranda warning. But in Dickerson v. United States, 530 U.S. 428 (2000), a 7-2 opinion written by Chief Justice William Rehnquist upheld the Miranda warnings by saying that "the warnings have become part of our national culture." Justice Antonin Scalia railed against this decision in dissent, but the Miranda warnings remain mandatory to this day. Similar respect for old but deeply flawed cases used to animate moderate support for Roe v. Wade and abortion, a troubling proposition indeed.