In The

Supreme Court of the United States




Decided June 21, 1982

Justice O’Connor, Concurring

Topic: Judicial Power*Court vote: 7–2
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Joining O'Connor opinion: Justice REHNQUIST Justice REHNQUIST
Citation: 457 U.S. 496 Docket: 80–1874Audio: Listen to this case's oral arguments at Oyez

* As categorized by the Washington University Law Supreme Court Database

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JUSTICE O'CONNOR, with whom JUSTICE REHNQUIST joins, concurring.

As discussed in JUSTICE POWELL's dissenting opinion, as well as in the opinion of the court below, considerations of sound policy suggest that a § 1983 plaintiff should be required to exhaust adequate state administrative remedies before filing his complaint. At the very least, prior state administrative proceedings would resolve many claims, thereby decreasing the number of § 1983 actions filed in the federal courts, which are now straining under excessive caseloads. However, for the reasons set forth in the Court's opinion, this Court already has ruled that, in the absence of additional congressional legislation, exhaustion of administrative remedies is not required in § 1983 actions. Perhaps Congress' enactment of the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq. (1976 ed., Supp. IV), which creates a limited exhaustion requirement for prisoners bringing § 1983 suits, will prompt it to reconsider the possibility of requiring exhaustion in the remainder of § 1983 cases. Reluctantly, I concur.

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