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A new name in the judicial appointment rumor mill is a signal that President George W. Bush may not be shy about naming controversial conservatives to the bench. University of Utah law Professor Paul Cassell, a former clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia with Federalist Society and Orrin Hatch connections, is in line for a federal district judgeship in Utah, say knowledgeable sources. Cassell, who would not comment on the report, is best known for his zealous campaign to overturn Miranda v. Arizona, the 1966 ruling that requires police to warn suspects of their constitutional right to remain silent. Last year, his crusade ended in failure before the Supreme Court in Dickerson v. United States. Cassell, who once described Miranda as “the worst thing that has happened to criminal justice in the last half-century,” earned enemies for the research he conducted to prove that assertion — research that was seriously flawed, critics in academe say. “Some people hate his empirical stuff,” says University of Michigan law professor Yale Kamisar, a leading Miranda scholar. “But he’s a smart guy, and even though he doesn’t like Miranda, I think he’d apply it conscientiously as a judge.”

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