In The

Supreme Court of the United States




Decided March 25, 1986

Justice O’Connor, Concurring

Topic: Civil Rights*Court vote: 6–3
Note: No other Justices joined this opinion.
Citation: 475 U.S. 469 Docket: 84–1160Audio: Listen to this case's oral arguments at Oyez

* As categorized by the Washington University Law Supreme Court Database

Next opinion >< Previous opinion

DISCLAIMER: Only United States Reports are legally valid sources for Supreme Court opinions. The text below is provided for ease of access only. If you need to cite the exact text of this opinion or if you would like to view the opinions of the other Justices in this case, please view the original United States Report at the Library of Congress or Justia. The Sandra Day O'Connor Institute does not in any way represent, warrant, or guarantee that the text below is accurate."


JUSTICE O'CONNOR, concurring in part and concurring in the judgment.

For the reasons stated by JUSTICE WHITE, I agree that the municipal officers here were acting as policymakers within the meaning of Monell v. New York City Dept. of Social Services, 436 U. S. 658 (1978). As the city of Cincinnati freely conceded, forcible entry of third-party property to effect an arrest was standard operating procedure in May, 1977. Given that this procedure was consistent with federal, state, and local law at the time the case arose, it seems fair to infer that respondent county's policy was no different. Moreover, under state law as definitively construed by the Court of Appeals, the county officials who opted for the forcible entry "had the authority to approve or disapprove such entries." Ante at 475 U. S. 485 (WHITE J., concurring). Given this combination of circumstances, I agree with JUSTICE WHITE that the decision to break down the door "sufficiently manifested county policy to warrant reversal of the judgment below." Ibid. Because, however, I believe that the reasoning of the majority goes beyond that necessary to decide the case, and because I fear that the standard the majority articulates may be misread to expose municipalities to liability beyond that envisioned by the Court in Monell, I join only Parts 475 U. S. S. 477|>II-A of the Court's opinion and the judgment.

Supreme Court icon marking end of opinion

Header photo: United States Supreme Court. Credit: Patrick McKay / Flickr - CC.