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Accordingly, the judgement of the Court of Appeals is Affirmed.
The Honorable Justice STEVENS, concurring in part and concurring in the judgment.
The only question presented by the petition for certiorari reads as follows:
"Whether law enforcement officers must give ' Miranda warnings' to individuals arrested for misdemeanor traffic offenses."
In Parts I, II, and IV of its opinion, the Court answers that question in the affirmative and explains why that answer requires that the judgement of the Court of Appeals be affirmed. Part III of the Court's opinion is written for the purpose of discussing the admissibility of statements made by respondent "prior to his formal arrest," see ante, at 435. That discussion is not necessary to the disposition of the case, nor necessary to answer the only question presented by the certiorari petition. Indeed, the Court of Appeals quite properly did not pass on the question answered in Part III since it was entirely unnecessary to the judgement in this case. It thus wisely followed the cardinal rule that a court should not pass on a constitutional question in advance of the necessity of deciding it. See, e. g., Ashwander v. TVA, 297 U.S. 288, 346 (1936) (Brandeis, J., concurring).
Lamentably, this Court fails to follow the course of judicial restraint that we have set for the entire federal judiciary. In this case, it appears the reason for reaching out to decide a question not passed upon below and unnecessary to the judgement is that the answer to the question upon which we granted review is so clear under our settled precedents that the majority — its appetite for deciding constitutional questions only whetted — is driven to serve up a more delectable issue to satiate it. I had thought it clear, however, that no matter how interesting or potentially important a determination on a question of constitutional law may be, "broad considerations of the appropriate exercise of judicial power prevent such determinations unless actually compelled by the litigation before the Court." Barr v. Matteo, 355 U.S. 171, 172 (1957) (per curiam). Indeed, this principle of restraint grows in importance the more problematic the constitutional issue is. See New York v. Uplinger, 467 U.S. 246, 251 (1984) (STEVENS, J., concurring).
Because I remain convinced that the Court should abjure the practice of reaching out to decide cases on the broadest grounds possible, e. g., United States v. Doe, 465 U.S. 605, 619-620 (1984) (STEVENS, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part); Grove City College v. Bell, 465 U.S. 555, 579 (1984) (STEVENS, J., concurring in part and concurring in result); Colorado v. Nunez, 465 U.S. 324, 327-328 (1984) (STEVENS, J., concurring); United States v. Gouveia, 467 U.S. 180, 193 (1984) (STEVENS, J., concurring in judgment); Firefighters v. Stotts, 467 U.S. 561, 590-591 (1984) (STEVENS, J., concurring in judgment); see also, University of California Regents v. Bakke, 438 U.S. 265, 411-412 (1978) (STEVENS, J., concurring in judgement in part and dissenting in part); Monell v. New York City Dept. of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 714 (1978) (STEVENS, J., concurring in part); cf. Snepp v. United States, 444 U.S. 507, 524-525 (1980) (STEVENS, J., dissenting), I do not join Part III of the Court's opinion.
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