Today, Miranda v. Arizona is deeply embedded in U.S. constitutional law, widely accepted by police and public alike. Given the opportunity to overrule Miranda in 2000, the Supreme Court voted 7 to 2 to affirm it. The majority opinion, by erstwhile Miranda critic Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, noted that “the warnings have become part of our national culture.”
I recite this history in anticipation of the outcry that may greet a 5 to 4 ruling in the pending health-care case.
Like others, I’ve worried that a one-vote majority in such a pivotal matter might harm the court’s legitimacy. But a closer reading of history, both distant and recent, suggests otherwise.