Elena Kagan Votes With Alito and Thomas To Undermine Miranda

When Elena Kagan was nominated, there were very few of us voicing strenuous objection, one of the primary reasons I did was her complete lack of experience in the adversarial system, especially with her total lack of knowledge and interest in criminal process issues, which would be critical in the face of the Obama DOJ’s determination to further gut Miranda.

The feared Kagan chickens have come home to roost. The Supreme Court just announced its decision in Howes v. Fields, and the decision is a significant further erosion of the critical Constitutional protections embodied in Miranda. The ruling specifically holds that police are not automatically required to tell prisoners of their legal right to remain silent and have an attorney present when being questioned in prison about another crime.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, joined by Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer dissented. Noting that Fields was only incarcerated for disorderly conduct in the first place, Ginsburg stated:

For the reasons stated, I would hold that the “incommunicado interrogation [of Fields] in a police-dominated atmosphere,” id., at 445, without informing him of his rights, dishonored the Fifth Amendment privilege Miranda was designed to safeguard.

Notice who did NOT side with her fellow “liberal bloc” Justices to honor and protect Miranda? Elena Kagan. No, Kagan instead sided completely with Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and the rest of the conservative bloc.

No democratic appointee to Supreme Court should ever vote to further erode Miranda, and this case did exactly that in a fundamental way. But Barack Obama gave us the authoritarian Elena Kagan who, predictably, did just that. As a prediction: you will be seeing a lot more of Elena Kagan voting with Alito, Scalia and Thomas on crucial law and order/criminal process, not to mention evidentiary, issues. Get used to it.

Oh, and as a reminder, Obama may soon enough have the opportunity to further shove the ideological spectrum of the Supreme Court substantially to the right, just as he did when he replaced John Paul Stevens with Kagan. If Obama replaces the liberal stalwart Ruth Bader Ginsburg with another mushy authoritarian and/or corporatist centrist, like he did in replacing Stevens, liberals will regret it for decades.

Judicial policy matters.

[updated slightly to reflect authoritarian as a descriptor for Kagan, which, as EW points out, is more germane to this discussion on Howes]

Tweet about this on Twitter139Share on Reddit0Share on Facebook183Google+1Email to someone

32 Responses to Elena Kagan Votes With Alito and Thomas To Undermine Miranda

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • 19
  • 20
  • 21
  • 22
  • 23
  • 24
  • 25
  • 26
  • 27
  • 28
  • 29
  • 30
  • 31
  • 32

Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz @mucha_carlos @JoshMBlackman Well OLC said no to Obama's Libya war as Josh pointed out. The hospital deal kind of different thing, but yeah.
8mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @conor64: I keep hearing Americans are panicking over ISIS. D.C. is panicking. On the streets of America, no one is panicked. Ask around…
10mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @AntheaButler: but we go after ISIS because they are barbaric and we have people who shoot down their 6 grandchildren.....
11mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @mucha_carlos @JoshMBlackman Well, more than you'd think probably, but OLC renders a lot of advisory opinions not as consequential as war
16mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @dcbigjohn: Most transparent administration ever won't say if the NSA is doing business with an official's husband http://t.co/b2M5IIaGMi
24mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz .@JoshMBlackman Dunno about "cementing" any integrity of OLC, not sure they have much, but if even rather pliable OLC won't buy Obama war...
26mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @BradMossEsq @robertcaruso It is not yet unconstitutional, but it will be soon. Separation of powers matter.
33mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @Mansfield2016: Alison Lee is Obama's 7th nomination to directly fail as a result of the blue slip
1hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @HanniFakhoury Yes, but it sure helps that the verdict and govt.'s argument are absolutely absurd.
2hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @KevinBuist Just barely missed the opportunity to slap a sign on them and chat up some votes. @WOODTV
3hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @conor64 Wouldn't that require getting out of DC? Scary.
3hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @FedcourtJunkie @ScottKGraham Was there any mention of Merry Chan's little Tuesday night stunt?
3hreplyretweetfavorite
February 2012
S M T W T F S
« Jan   Mar »
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
26272829