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Rosenberg, Epp, and Miranda: Implementation of Supreme Court Decisions

On the surface, it seems that determining how much power courts have would be a simple task. However, history has proven this to be false. The courts have been viewed in many different ways through out the history of our country. There are three common views of court power that are important for modern scholars of the court system. Those who believe courts have little power to cause social change are said to adhere to the Constrained Court view. Those who believe courts have a great deal of power to cause social change are said to adhere to the Dynamic Court view. The final, and youngest, take on court power combines aspects of the Constrained and Dynamic views into what I shall call the Condition Dependent Court view of power. This view sees that there are certain conditions which allow the court to cause social change.

What kind of change are we talking about here? The Supreme Court examines many different kinds of cases, so determining which cases to look at is important. There is little, if any, value in examining noncontroversial cases. If a case is noncontroversial, there is no reason to expect a reaction of any kind by those outside the court besides the parties directly effected. Thus, it is logical to examine cases which are highly controversial. One of the most well known Supreme Court decisions is Miranda v. Arizona (1966). This decision has been the subject of many articles and books. It has also been popularized through various television shows involving police (Law & Order for example).

Not only is the Miranda decision well known, it has also been highly controversial. “In its immediate aftermath, the Miranda opinion was assailed by police, prosecutors, politicians, and the media” (Leo 622). Gi...

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