Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders of County of Burlington
566 U.S. ___ (2012)

Annotate this Case

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES

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No. 10–945

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ALBERT W. FLORENCE, PETITIONER v. BOARD OF CHOSEN FREEHOLDERS OF THE COUNTY OF BURLINGTON et al.

on writ of certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the third circuit

[April 2, 2012]

     Chief Justice Roberts, concurring.

     I join the opinion of the Court. As with Justice Alito, however, it is important for me that the Court does not foreclose the possibility of an exception to the rule it announces. Justice Kennedy explains that the circumstances before it do not afford an opportunity to consider that possibility. Ante, at 18–19. Those circumstances include the facts that Florence was detained not for a minor traffic offense but instead pursuant to a warrant for his arrest, and that there was apparently no alternative, if Florence were to be detained, to holding him in the general jail population.

     Factual nuances have not played a significant role as this case has been presented to the Court. Both courts below regarded acknowledged factual disputes as “immaterial” to their conflicting dispositions, 621 F. 3d 296, 300 (CA3 2010), and before this Court Florence challenged suspicionless strip searches “no matter what the circumstances.” Pet. for Cert. i.

     The Court makes a persuasive case for the general applicability of the rule it announces. The Court is nonetheless wise to leave open the possibility of exceptions, to ensure that we “not embarrass the future.” Northwest Airlines, Inc. v. Minnesota, 322 U. S. 292, 300 (1944) (Frankfurter, J.).

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