Document Type


Publication Date



In this Essay, Professor Levine briefly explores Dickerson v. United States, the important 2000 decision in which a divided United States Supreme Court held that the standard established in Miranda v. Arizona continues to govern the admissibility of confessions, notwithstanding a federal statute enacted subsequent to Miranda that provided an alternative standard. Levine addresses broader theoretical implications of the approaches adopted by the majority and dissenting opinions in Dickerson. Drawing a parallel to the interpretation of the Torah in Jewish legal theory, he proposes a comparative framework for analyzing the division between the majority and dissent over the concept and status of a “constitutional rule.” This Essay finds a similar debate among medieval legal authorities over the status of a rule in the Jewish legal system that appears to function in a manner ordinarily reserved for legislation. Some authorities categorize the rule as rabbinic legislation, while others understand the rule as a biblical law with quasi-legislative characteristics. Taking the conceptual comparison a step further, Levine considers ways in which Jewish legal theory might elucidate the nature of the “constitutional rule” delineated in Miranda.

Source Publication

69 Md. L. Rev. 78