A new book published by University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law Professor Amos Guiora explores how one of the most famous U.S. Supreme Court decisions would be applied today.
The book, “Earl Warren: Ernesto Miranda and Terrorism,” was released this month. At issue in Guiora’s research is a central question: Would Chief Justice Earl Warren apply Miranda v. Arizona to terrorists today?
Several S.J. Quinney College of Law students assisted Guiora with research on the project. Guiora spoke to the College of Law about his new work in a Q&A.
Q: Describe the research explored in your new book, “Earl Warren: Ernesto Miranda and Terrorism.” What made you want to explore this particular area?
A: When Steve Errick, the publisher of Twelve Tables Press, asked me who my “favorite” Supreme Court Justice is I instinctively answered Earl Warren. Steve’s follow up question was,“what’s your favorite Supreme Court decision” I answered, “Miranda.” That’s how the idea for the book was born. I had read a great deal about Warren, studied and teach the Miranda decision and felt merging the two would be an interesting project. On a personal note, I grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan where Professor Yale Kamisar taught; while my parents were friends with the Kamisars and I knew his sons I was also well aware that Kamisar was often times referred to as “the father of Kamisar.” It was the closing of a personal circle when I interviewed Kamisar for my book.
Q: What’s new in this book that hasn’t already been covered in other textbooks?
A: The book engages in “speculative history” asking the question: were Warren alive would he apply Miranda to suspected terrorists? Given my professional experience in the legal aspects of operational counterterrorism (while serving for 20 years in the Israel Defense Forces) the question—for me—is neither abstract nor amorphous. Rather it goes to the heart of the question regarding balancing individual rights with public order-safety. To answer the question, I interviewed a wide range of individuals including former Warren clerks. While there is —obviously—no clear answer regarding the question I am of the belief that Warren, unhesitatingly—-would extend Miranda protections to suspected terrorists. To best explain Warren and his times, I researched Warren’s role in President Roosevelt’s decision to intern Japanese-Americans in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor (Warren was California AG at the time); Warren’s relationship with Richard Nixon, and the America of the 1960’s, particularly the riots, the student movements (including SDS) and the Vietnam War and the music of that era (I had a terrific email exchange with Country Joe McDonald). The book’s website includes links to the relevant music of the 1960’s.
Q: What makes the issues that you are exploring timely and relevant in today’s political world?
A: Every time a terrorist attack occurs on American soil—for example the “underwear” bomber in Detroit or the Boston Marathon bombers—the question is posed whether Miranda protections should be extended. This is, obviously, an issue that is not going away and deserves our fullest attention given its extraordinary importance to the suspect, law enforcement, the courts, and the public. As I note in the book, the fact President Barack Obama and then AG Eric Holder couldn’t agree on the answer highlights the need to resolve the issue.
Q: This endeavor was a collaborative approach and you engaged the help of S.J. Quinney College of Law students in its publication. Tell us more about the unique opportunities students had while working on this project.
A: I was beyond fortunate that two students—Amanda Roosendahl and Anabel Alvardo—closely worked with me on the book. Amanda was assigned to me for a year as a “Quinney Fellow”; her work on the book from “A to Z” truly is a gold standard for a project of this nature. Anabel joined our team in the later stages of the book writing process. Their contribution was of great importance to the successful completion of the project and I am, truly, grateful to them. I’d like to think they enjoyed the research as we delved into the music, history, politics, and law of the 1960’s.