The United States Constitution in Film

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In 2006, the McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum conducted a survey to measure Americans’ knowledge of their First Amendment constitutional freedoms (the freedoms of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition), comparing it to Americans’ knowledge of popular culture, particularly their knowledge of the well-known television series, The Simpsons, shortly before the release of The Simpsons Movie. The results, perhaps unsurprisingly, revealed that only a quarter of those surveyed could name more than one First Amendment freedom, while over 50 percent could identify more than one member of the Simpson household (Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie).[1] Furthermore, while merely 0.1 percent of those surveyed could name all five rights protected by the text of the First Amendment, about one out of every five Americans were able to think of all five of those Simpson characters.[2] Likewise, 41 percent of those surveyed could identify at least two of the three American Idol judges on the show at that time; this percentage was higher than the percent of those who could name more than two First Amendment freedoms.[3] Popular advertising slogans were also known by more respondents than the five First Amendment freedoms.[4] The survey further showed that many Americans thought there were various rights contained in the First Amendment, such as the right to own a pet, that are not protected by that provision or any other part of the Constitution.[5]

Unlike some of the commentary that took place when the McCormick survey was released, we are not here to indict the American public for its knowledge, or lack thereof, on the First Amendment or any other part of the U.S. Constitution. Putting aside the fact that the same survey showed a strong majority of Americans — 69 percent — knew that the First Amendment protects the freedom of speech,[6] thus demonstrating that constitutional knowledge among the public may be higher than media reporting of the survey tried to suggest, our goal is to illustrate the interaction between popular culture and the Constitution. Indeed, both the Constitution and popular culture are institutions valued by most Americans. A 2012 joint survey by the Associated Press and the National Constitution Center revealed that 69 percent of Americans agreed with the statement that the Constitution “is an enduring document that remains relevant today,” with only 28percent responding that it is “an outdated document that needs to be modernized.”[7] Obviously, “popular” culture is something that will resonate with a large segment of the population. In particular, over $10 billion is spent annually by moviegoers in North America, with the overwhelming majority of it being spent by attendees of U.S. theaters.[8] We will show in the ensuing pages the interaction that exists between films and the Constitution. The following examples will illustrate how we will accomplish this.

In 1966, the U.S. Supreme Court made history when it decided Miranda v. Arizona. The case involved Ernesto Miranda, a suspect who was arrested by Phoenix police for suspicion of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a young woman. Upon arrival at the police station, the victim identified Miranda as her attacker. A pair of police officers subsequently questioned Miranda for two hours. During this time, Miranda signed a written confession to the alleged crimes; at the top of the confession was a typed statement that the confession was being made voluntarily, without threats or promises of immunity, “with full knowledge” of his legal rights, and that any statement he made could be used against him. Miranda was not informed that he had a right to have an attorney present during police questioning, nor did he ask for an attorney. Later at trial, over his defense attorney’s objection, Miranda’s written confession was used as evidence against him. The jury convicted Miranda of kidnapping and rape. The judge sentenced Miranda to 2 –0 years in prison.[9]

At this point in the story, Miranda’s tale sound like an episode of Law and Order or any number of other television programs or films about police detective work and the prosecution of criminals. Indeed, it is almost formulaic: a crime is committed, police center their investigation on a suspect, the victim identifies the suspect as the perpetrator of the crime, the suspect is interrogated, the suspect confesses, and the suspect is later convicted at trial. This scenario plays out not just in the movies and on television, but also in police stations and courthouses all over America every day.

However, Miranda’s story did not end there. He appealed his conviction to the U.S. Supreme Court. In one of the Court’s most controversial decisions of the 1960s,[10] a majority of justices reversed Miranda’s conviction. Chief Justice Earl Warren, writing for the Court, held that Miranda’s Fifth Amendment right against compelled self-incrimination and his Sixth Amendment right to an attorney were violated in the case. Warren reasoned that the pre-printed statement at the top of the confession form and the information given to him by police were not enough to protect his constitutional rights. Instead, according to the Court, “Miranda was not in any way apprised of his right to consult with an attorney and to have one present during the interrogation, nor was his right not to be compelled to incriminate himself effectively protected in any other manner.” To ensure that his rights were safeguarded, the Court reasoned that the proper remedy was to disallow the use of the confession by the prosecution, thus overturning his conviction.[11]

Moving forward, the Supreme Court instituted a rule that when police interrogate suspects in custody, they must read suspects their Miranda rights. According to the Court, these warnings are as follows: “Prior to any questioning, the person must be warned that he has a right to remain silent, that any statement he does make may be used as evidence against him, and that he has a right to the presence of an attorney, either retained or appointed.”[12] Many Americans are now familiar with the Miranda warnings and can even recite them,[13] but for most people it is not because they heard them upon being arrested; instead, many people probably are now able to identify these warnings because they heard them uttered by actors portraying police officers in television programs and films.

This was not lost on the Supreme Court decades later when the justices were asked to decide if Miranda warnings were a constitutional requirement or a judicially-imposed remedy that could be overridden by legislation requiring something other than the warnings pronounced by the Court. Due to some of the controversy surrounding the Miranda decision, in 1968 Congress passed a federal statute that allowed for the admittance at trial of voluntarily given suspect confessions taken during custodial interrogations, even if Miranda warnings were not provided.[14] Rather than rely on the congressional statute and possibly have a non-Miranda confession ruled inadmissible, federal agents typically took the additional step of reading Miranda warnings to suspects before engaging in custodial interrogation. In Dickerson v. United States (2000), there was a dispute between a bank robbery suspect and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents whether he was read his Miranda warnings before or after he gave incriminating statements while in police custody; one of these statements made by Dickerson was subsequently offered as evidence against him. After Dickerson was convicted, he appealed his case to the Supreme Court, which now had to determine if Miranda warnings were constitutionally required, or if the federal agents could simply rely on the 1968 congressional statute.[15]

The Court held in Dickerson that Miranda warnings are required by the Constitution to ensure that the rights to an attorney and against compelled self-incrimination are protected. Writing for the Court’s majority was Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who for years was highly critical of the Miranda decision.[16] However, in Dickerson, Rehnquist reasoned that Miranda needed to be upheld, in part, because “Miranda has become embedded in routine police practice to the point where the warnings have become part of our national culture.”[17] In other words, so many people were familiar with Miranda warnings that the Court stated they were part of our constitutional ethos. While some people are certainly aware of Miranda warnings because of experiences with the criminal justice system and due to formal education, the Court was convinced that many Americans had come to learn and be reminded of these rights because they repeatedly heard them stated by actors on television and in film. Put another way by the staff of Broadcast and Cable magazine when commenting on the Dickerson decision, “[n]ext to the pledge of allegiance, the Miranda rights may be the most familiar common litany of the baby-boomer generation, thanks to TV.”[18] Indeed, the reading of Miranda warnings on television was not simply something that first occurred in the 1990s during the Law and Order series that was beginning to peak in popularity when the Court handed down the Dickerson decision.[19] Instead, the ubiquity of these warnings on television extended back to the Dragnet series in the 1960s, shortly after Miranda was decided,[20] and they continued through numerous films in the interceding decades (although use of Miranda warnings in film has waned a bit in recent years[21]). The fact that Miranda warnings had been heard by many millions of audience members before Dickerson was not lost on the Supreme Court. The Court’s decision in Dickerson illustrates that films and other popular media teach the public about their constitutional rights; but it also shows how films can potentially influence courts’ interpretive decisions and the national discourse over our constitutional rights.

Considered this way, films can teach many lessons about what the U.S. Constitution means and what it requires. Films have been used to express the political beliefs of directors, producers, and actors,[22] and many films have been a reflection of what the public thinks generally, true or not, about the meaning of the Constitution. There is no question that the Constitution is of paramount importance to understanding American government and politics, both empirically and normatively.[23] Indeed, politicians, journalists, pundits, academics, and ordinary Americans reference what the document means, what it requires, and what it prohibits on a regular basis. At the same time, many persons’ understandings of the Constitution can be influenced, at least in part, by popular culture. In particular, film has the potential to be a powerful shaper of cultural beliefs, and we will discuss below how this works with regard to popular perceptions about the Constitution. The Constitution is often either an integral part of film, or it is in the background of a film’s plot. The types of statements made by filmmakers about the Constitution vary significantly during different periods in American history and from one substantive area of the Constitution to another. During each period though, these films serve as a catalyst for nationwide conversations about the Constitution and as a way of either reinforcing or undermining the constitutional ideological orthodoxies of their time. In other words, films can sometimes be symbols and products of the political tug of war over the interpretation of our nation’s founding document.

This book examines several key areas of the Constitution to see how films have tried to engage the Constitution and teach viewers something about it. We expose myths where they exist in film, draw conclusions about how Hollywood’s constitutional lessons have changed, examine the role these films have had in sparking or complicating national debates, explore the inspirations or harsh reactions viewers have had to Hollywood’s involvement in constitutional issues, and ultimately compare these films to what the Constitution says and how the U.S. Supreme Court has interpreted it. Given the ever-present discussion of the Constitution in American politics and its importance to the structure of the U.S. government and citizens’ rights, there is no question that the popular perceptions of the document and how people acquire these perceptions are important and timely.

As for Ernesto Miranda, his story after the Supreme Court ruled in Miranda v. Arizona seems almost like it was written by Hollywood. He was retried, this time with his confession suppressed, and still convicted by the jury. After serving several years in prison, he was paroled. In 1976, he was fatally stabbed in a bar fight. Two suspects in his killing were arrested. The men were read their Miranda warnings, they did not give the police any incriminating statements, and no one was ever charged with committing his murder.[24] Although not every film explored below will have such an ironic plot twist as this real life story, Miranda’s saga reminds us that telling narratives about the Constitution’s meaning can take us to some unexpected places.

These narratives, which often tell stories in which perpetrators appear to “get away” with crimes, express frustrations that some in the general public have with Miranda and other Supreme Court decisions protecting the rights of the accused. Take, for instance, Dirty Harry (1971). The inciting moment in the movie arrives when the San Francisco police and mayor become aware of a serial killer who is extorting the city for $100,000. The killer threatens to continue killing the city’s citizens unless his financial demand is met. On a surface level, the film’s antagonist is Scorpio (Andy Robinson), the serial killer, who must be captured or killed by “Dirty” Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood), the film’s protagonist.[25] But Scorpio’s character is flat, predictable, and effectively functions to drive the plot forward. A deeper thematic tension develops from Dirty Harry’s approach to law enforcement, which pits his zeal for the law against the rights of the accused.

Indeed, the name “Dirty Harry” alone suggests he will do whatever it takes to put the “bad guys” away, disregarding authority, the law, and even the Constitution. For instance, when the chief of police orders Harry to go alone when making make a ransom payment to Scorpio, Harry takes his partner along anyway. Later in the film, when the chief and the Mayor order Harry to stay away from Scorpio as he rides to the airport with hostages, Harry ignores them and resolves the situation with his own special brand of justice. When Harry rescues a man from a suicide attempt, he does it through mocking the man and reverse psychology, practically daring him to jump; and, right after calling in a bank robbery, he takes it upon himself to stop the criminals with little concern for the innocent civilians around him.[26] In each of these instances, Harry judges the law — or lawful orders, or at least common police procedure — to be an inadequate arbiter of justice. Instead, he must take justice into his own hands.[27]

His route to justice in the film increasingly circumvents the legal paths advised by his police chief and District Attorney William Rothko (Josef Sommer), advice based in part on liberal rulings by the Warren Court. Nowhere in Dirty Harry does this tension come out stronger than when Harry tortures Scorpio after breaking into his residence in order to find the location of the killer’s latest kidnapping victim. Harry does not know if the victim is still alive, but he is primarily interested in rescuing her, not thinking about, or perhaps even aware of, how his actions might undermine the criminal case against Scorpio. After this scene, the tension between justice and the law becomes explicit in a conversation between District Attorney Rothko and Harry:

Rothko: The problem is we don’t have any evidence.
Harry: Evidence? What the hell do you call that? [pointing to the rifle Harry uncovered from Scorpio’s residence]
Rothko: I call it nothing. Zero.
Harry: Are you trying to tell me ballistics can’t match the bullet up to this rifle?
Rothko: It does not matter what ballistics can do. This rifle might make a nice souvenir. But it’s inadmissible as evidence.
Harry: And who says that?
Rothko: It’s the law.
Harry: Well, then the law is crazy.[28]

Dirty Harry’s angst was a popular depiction of the frustration that many in America felt toward Warren Court rulings in the late 1960s and early 1970s: that the Court had gone too far in its interpretation of the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures and the Fifth Amendment right against compelled self-incrimination.[29] In this sense, Dirty Harry represented a vision of the Constitution where police should not be hindered by legal “technicalities” that prevented them from putting away ruthless killers and criminals. Moreover, Dirty Harry’s understanding of what constitutional rights should exist began to find their way into Supreme Court opinions, as it anticipated the Burger and Rehnquist Courts’ decisions that limited Miranda and found exceptions to it,[30] something we will explore in more detail in the chapters that follow. In this way, Miranda and its aftermath provide strong evidence that the interplay between culture and the Constitution is a two-way street: constitutional decisions affect what is produced in films, and films have the potential to influence how the Court then interprets the Constitution.

Indeed, as has been pointed out elsewhere, the interplay of law and popular culture is not simply an interesting academic exercise. Rather, citations of popular culture, including of movies, frequently are used in courtroom arguments by attorneys and in case opinions by judges.[31] In this sense, popular culture (which includes movies), as “the norms and values held by ordinary people” based on popular entertainment aimed at a general audience,[32] helps to inform what the law is. Public officials find themselves bound not simply by courts’ interpretation of constitutional powers, but also by how the public imagines what constitutional norms are. Indeed, as Abraham Lincoln once observed, “[i]n this age, and this country, public sentiment is everything. With it, nothing can fail; against it, nothing can succeed. Whoever molds public sentiment goes deeper than he who enacts statutes, or pronounces judicial decisions.”[33]

Likewise, the Constitution, as part of our nation’s legal culture, encompasses “the ideas and attitudes which are specifically legal in content,”[34] affecting what occurs in popular culture. This interaction between the Constitution and popular culture helps us better understand both topics. It can also help those who are on one side of a debate in either constitutional law or popular culture to better understand the perspective of someone on the other side of the debate, as it presents what might be a hardened debate in a new light. Beyond cases in courts, it is important to note that the Constitution is not just a legal document but also a political one, and it is subject to change when the people’s will commands a great enough majority to amend it or even reinterpret how its principles are applied.[35] In this sense, popular culture can affect not just how courts interpret the Constitution but ultimately what the text of it says and means too.

Of course, as is the case with any works of fiction, the perceptions that may be created, especially as they relate to politics, may distort reality. Many films are purely fictional portrayals that tell us a narrative that the writer, director, and actors want us to see and hear. Even in films that are historical fiction, the creative license that is taken may cause the moviegoer to misunderstand historical facts and key concepts. These myths are important to the storyteller, but they may also cause film watchers to fundamentally misunderstand and ultimately misapply what the Constitution says and means.[36] For example, if a film were to depict the presidential line of succession, but the film had the Attorney General (instead of the Vice President) taking over next in the line of success when a fictional President dies in office, some of the film watchers are going to erroneously assume that the Constitution requires that line of succession. It is myths like this that we also seek out to explain and explore in the pages that follow, as they have the potential to impact popular perceptions about our nation’s governing document.

Throughout this book, we will provide analysis of these phenomena as they relate to several major areas of constitutional powers and rights. In doing so, we explore in each area not only the characterization of the Constitution but also the portrayal of myths and the potential impact of film to change how we interpret the document.

We begin where the Constitution begins, in chapter one with Article I and Congress. Various films throughout the last century have depicted congressional elections and the constitutional authority that Congress possesses. We demonstrate how these portrayals have changed, and in some ways stayed the same, over time. In particular, a more cynical attitude toward Congress and use of constitutional power has developed in movies released more recently. Examples in this regard include Bob Roberts (1992), The Contender (2000), Charlie Wilson’s War (2007), and Lincoln (2012). This has the capability to fundamentally alter the public’s perception of the constitutional powers of Congress.

Chapter two primarily examines Article II of the Constitution, which outlines the presidency, including terms of office, powers, elections, and duties. This chapter also discusses relevant changes to the presidency that came about due to amendments like the Twenty-Fifth Amendment. A review of relevant films shows an ambivalent feeling about the presidency, as many filmmakers, like many Americans, want an empowered president to protect us. This can be seen in such films as Independence Day (1996), Deep Impact (1998), and White House Down (2013). However, another narrative tradition in Hollywood fears the consolidation of too much power in the institution, including in some films that suggest either ineptitude or conspiracy theories about the executive branch. These films include Dr. Strangelove (1964), Fail-Safe (1964), Nixon (1995), and The Bourne Identity (2002).

An analysis of these films also mirrors the public’s misunderstanding of the power of the Presidency in relation to the other two branches of government. As writers since The Federalist Papers have pointed out, the framers wanted to avoid creating an overly powerful executive, so they designed the presidency to avoid the pitfalls that existed with a strong British monarch.[37] Granted, the president’s powers have expanded since the Founding, but our constitutional separation of powers system ensures that the American president has limited powers and abilities. Yet in many films, the President is portrayed as a man or woman who can almost single-handedly affect change, such as in Air Force One (1997) or Lincoln (2012).

In chapter three, we examine the selection and powers of the U.S. Supreme Court justices and lower federal court judges according to Article III of the Constitution. Much like Article III is significantly shorter than the articles outlining the powers of Congress and the president, respectively, there is a dearth of films about the federal court system when compared to the other two branches of government. Nevertheless, there is a largely coherent and positive narrative in these films of the federal courts being properly empowered to protect people’s rights, such as in The Magnificent Yankee (1950), The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996), Amistad (1997), or Selma (2014).

Our next chapter examines the First Amendment freedom of and from religion. Films on the freedom of conscience and disestablishment of religion tend to concentrate on the dangers of the tyranny of the majority and the need for each individual to be able to freely follow one’s religious dictates. Films that address this issue tend to stress individualism and courage and are sometimes inextricably interwoven with other constitutional issues. This typically manifests itself in films that draw upon the strengths of religious diversity that are promoted by the freedom of and from religion. Key motion pictures in this regard include Inherit the Wind (1960), Planet of the Apes (1968), and The Crucible (1996).

Chapter five looks at films related to the First Amendment’s expressive rights: the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press. These films tend to beg for an ever-expansive protection of the freedom of speech, even beyond the currently strong protections of this liberty, and have little regard for the dangers of protecting speech that can cause harm in the community. These pro-free speech films include Spartacus (1960), Good Morning, Vietnam (1987), PCU (1994), and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017). Such media portrayals are likely to further entrench the very pro-free speech position that many Americans hold. Regarding the freedom of the press, earlier movies are critical of the media’s rights, but with rare exception in recent years, they show the media in a favorable light and demonstrate the need to protect this right so that the press is empowered to check government power and promote the public good. This trend is most evident in All the President’s Men (1976), Private Parts (1997), Good Night, and Good Luck (2005), and The Post (2017). Given that films are expressive in nature and are promoted in the media, it should come as no surprise that they tend to be strongly protective of these First Amendment rights.

Chapter six examines the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Even though the Supreme Court only in 2008 explicitly ruled for the first time that this Amendment protects an individual right (as opposed to a collective state right), the mystique of the Second Amendment has long influenced moviemakers. However, unlike First Amendment rights, which are almost universally lauded by American films, with the Second Amendment there is a much more ambivalent stance taken by Hollywood. In other words, some of these films depict gun ownership and gun rights positively, including The Untouchables (1987) and Zombieland (2009). On the other hand, some films decry gun violence and imply that Second Amendment rights should be restricted to a greater degree, such as in Unforgiven (1992), Runaway Jury (2003), and Lord of War (2005). Some films treat guns ambiguously, showing them as both a positive and negative force on society, including in The Road (2009).

Next, we begin our discussion of film depictions of the rights of criminal suspects. Chapter seven focuses on these rights against law enforcement, including the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures and the Fifth Amendment right against compelled self-incrimination. Like the Second Amendment, some filmmakers present these rights as a necessary protection against the ability of a leviathan government to accost, interrogate, and abuse citizens at will; notable examples are The Star Chamber (1983), The Siege (1998), Training Day (2001), and Horrible Bosses (2011). Other films, though, show these rights as hampering the ability of police to effectively stop dangerous criminals, such as in the aforementioned Dirty Harry (1971) and in more modern films such as Se7en (1995) and Law Abiding Citizen (2009). Sometimes, though, films critical of these rights take creative license when telling the viewer how the courts have really interpreted them.

Chapter eight continues a discussion of the rights of the criminally accused, emphasizing those rights that apply more in the courtroom, including the Fifth Amendment rights against double jeopardy and to due process, as well as the Sixth Amendment rights to a jury trial, to confront witnesses, and to legal counsel. With only a few notable exceptions, these films place the courts, and the constitutional rights of the accused in courts, in a relatively positive light, such as in 12 Angry Men (1957), To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), Gideon’s Trumpet (1980), My Cousin Vinny (1992), Chicago (2002), and The Lincoln Lawyer (2011). In other words, these films typically demonstrate the need to protect these rights, even when showing the negative aspects of guarding them. In at least one case, Double Jeopardy (1999), the film completely mischaracterizes the right in question.

We then discuss the constitutional rights of the convicted in chapter nine. Most pertinently at issue here is the Eighth Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment. Films that elaborate on themes related to this amendment often show the dangers inherent in giving human beings power over others and express the need to vigorously protect this Eighth Amendment right. Notable movies here include Cool Hand Luke (1967), Escape from New York (1981), and Shawshank Redemption (1994). The constitutionality and morality of capital punishment is featured in several of these films, such as Sommersby (1993), Dead Man Walking (1995), and The Green Mile (1999).

Chapter ten explores the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. The theme of legal equality in film tends to be depicted in a progressive way, with stronger constitutional protections either explicitly or implicitly being advocated regarding race, sex, and sexual orientation. Major films touching on these themes over the years include Gone with the Wind (1939), The Night of the Living Dead (1968), Glory (1989), Thelma and Louise (1991), Crash (2004), Milk (2008), and Get Out (2017).

Subsequently, in chapter eleven we investigate another pair of rights from the Fourteenth Amendment as well as the Fifth Amendment: the general notion of freedom and the more specific right to privacy as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court under the Due Process Clauses. Much like First Amendment freedoms, films about freedom and privacy rights tend to be supportive of these constitutional protections and advocate expanding them, both from a more liberal and a more conservative perspective. Films touching on this theme include On the Waterfront (1954), Ghostbusters (1984), Braveheart (1995), Million Dollar Baby (2004), and The Lego Movie (2014). However, on issues like abortion and sexuality that are more sensitive and that divide the country, Hollywood tends to tiptoe around the subject; this can be seen in films like Citizen Ruth (1996), The Cider House Rules (1999), and Juno (2007).

In chapter twelve, the expansion of the right to vote is the subject. Relevant constitutional provisions include the Fifteenth, Nineteenth, Twenty-Third, Twenty-Fourth, and Twenty-Sixth Amendments. Films in this regard largely promote — with some notable exceptions — the idea that the right to vote should be universal, and they largely capture in an accurate way what these rights are and how they came to be protected in the Constitution. Some of the key films in this regard are Mississippi Burning (1988), Election (1999), Recount (2008), and Selma (2014).

We wrap up our discussion of the Constitution and film in our conclusion. Here, we will tie together themes from throughout the book and draw conclusions about the use (and abuse) of the Constitution in films through American history and today. We also discuss implications of the two way street between the Constitution and film, including new interpretations of the document and the power to amendment it.

Overall, films tell try to educate us, and they try to move us to certain beliefs, while sometimes reflecting trends in popular and elite discourse about the Constitution. In this vein, films can represent both an empirical and a normative enterprise. Moviegoers learn about the Constitution, both what they think it says and what the Supreme Court has said about it, as well as whether or not they think the text and Court interpretation is correct, from watching films. We hope to shed light not only on what films have gotten factually correct and incorrect about the Constitution but also on the new interpretations that films have aimed to inspire about our country’s foundational governing document. Furthermore, we aspire to reinforce the notion that these films operate as cultural artifacts that have the power to affect the ebb and flow of our changing nationwide ethos concerning the Constitution. Indeed, popular culture depictions in general both reflect reality and shape it; depictions of the Constitution in film are no different.

 

Notes

[1] “Study: More Know ‘The Simpsons’ than First Amendment Rights,” USA Today, March 1, 2006, http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/2006-03-01-freedom-poll_x.htm.

[2] Ibid.

[3] “Characters from ‘The Simpsons’ More Well Known to Americans than their First Amendment Freedoms, Survey Finds,” PR Newswire, March 1, 2006, http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/characters-from-the-simpsons-more-well-known-to-americans-than-their-first-amendment-freedoms-survey-finds-55189462.html.

[4] “Simpsons ‘Trump’ First Amendment,” BBC News, March 1, 2006, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4761294.stm.

[5] “Simpsons ‘Trump’ First Amendment;” “Characters from ‘The Simpsons’ More Well Known.”

[6] “Characters from ‘The Simpsons’ More Well Known.”

[7] “The AP-National Constitution Center Poll: August 2012,” Associated Press, https://constitutioncenter.org/media/files/data_GfK_AP-NCC_Poll_August_GfK_2012_Topline_FINAL_1st_release.pdf.

[8] Ryan Faughnder, “$40 Billion in Global Box Office?” Thank China and ‘Star Wars,’” Los Angeles Times, December 30, 2015, http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-global-box-office-20151231-story.html.

[9] Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 491-92 (1966).

[10] George C. Thomas III and Richard A. Leo, “The Effects of Miranda v. Arizona: ‘Embedded’ in Our National Culture?,” Crime and Justice 29 (2002): 203-271, 214.

[11] Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. at 492.

[12] Ibid., 444.

[13] Richard Rogers, et al., “Everyone Knows Their Miranda Rights: Implicit Assumptions and Countervailing Evidence,” Psychology, Public Policy, and Law 16 (2010): 300-18, 301-02.

[14] Yale Kamisar, “From Miranda to Section 3501 to Dickerson to…,” Michigan Law Review 99 (2001): 879-897, 879-80.

[15] Dickerson v. United States, 530 U.S. 428 (2000).

[16] Daniel M. Katz, “Institutional Rules, Strategic Behavior, and the Legacy of Chief Justice William Rehnquist: Setting the Record Straight on Dickerson v. United States,” Journal of Law and Politics 22 (2006): 303-39.

[17] Dickerson, 530 U.S. at 443.

[18] “Readim His Rights,” Broadcasting & Cable, July 2, 2000, http://www.broadcastingcable.com/news/news-articles/readim-his-rights/88733.

[19] Tim Brooks and Earle F. Marsh, The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946-Present (New York: Ballantine Books, 2007), 1695.

[20] Michael Asmiov and Shannon Mader, Law and Popular Culture: A Course Book (New York: Peter Lang, 2007), 10.

[21] Ronald Steiner, Rebecca Bauer, and Rohit Talwar, “The Rise and Fall of the Miranda Warnings in Popular Culture,” Cleveland State Law Review 59 (2011): 219-36.

[22] Phillip L. Gianos, Politics and Politicians in American Film (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1999).

[23] Stephen Breyer, “Our Democratic Constitution,” in The Embattled Constitution, ed. Norman Dorsen (New York: NYU Press, 2013), 7-35.

[24] “Ernesto Miranda’s Role in Constitutional History,” National Constitution Center, last modified March 13, 2014, http://blog.constitutioncenter.org/2014/03/ernesto-mirandas-role-in-constitutional-history/.

[25] Dirty Harry, directed by Don Siegel (Burbank, CA: Malpaso Productions, 1971), DVD.

[26] Ibid.

[27] Allen Rostron, “The Law and Order Theme in Political and Popular Culture,” Oklahoma City University Law Review 37 (2012): 323-95.

[28] Dirty Harry.

[29] Barry Friedman, “The Birth of an Academic Obsession: The History of the Countermajoritarian Difficulty, Part Five,” Yale Law Journal 112 (2002): 153-259, 214.

[30] Russell Dean Covey, “Miranda and the Media: Tracing the Cultural Evolution of a Constitutional Revolution,” Chapman Law Review 10 (2007): 761-88, 783.

[31] Michael W. Hoskins, “Pop Culture’s Place in Law: Attorneys, Judges Use Movies, Music to Supplement Legal Arguments,” The Indiana Lawyer, February 21, 2007, 1.

[32] Lawrence M. Friedman, “Law, Lawyers, and Popular Culture,” Yale Law Review 98 (1989), 1579-1606, 1579.

[33] Herbert Mitgang, “Morgan Library Trove Sheds Light on Lincoln,” New York Times, February 12, 1987.

[34] Friedman, “Law, Lawyers, and Popular Culture,” 1579.

[35] Henry L. Chambers, Jr., “Presidential Constitutional Interpretation, Signing Statements, Executive Power, and Zivotofsky,” University of Colorado Law Review 87 (2016), 1183-1229, 1204.

[36] For a similar problem in historical fiction, see Robert Brent Toplin, History by Hollywood: The Use and Abuse of the American Past (Champaign-Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1996).

[37] Abner S. Greene, “Checks and Balances in an Era of Presidential Lawmaking,” University of Chicago Law Review 61 (1994), 123-96, 148-49.

 

This excerpt is from The United States Constitution in Film: Part of Our National Culture (Lexington Books, 2018) with our book review here.

Eric T. Kasper and Quentin D. Vieregge

Written by

Eric T. Kasper is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire and Quentin D. Vieregge is an Associate Professor of English at University of Wisconsin at Barron County. They are author of The United States Constitution in Film (Lexington, 2018).