Thurgood Marshall: Opinion in Florida v. Bostick

(1991)

Document Text

Marshall’s Dissent

Our Nation, we are told, is engaged in a “war on drugs.” No one disputes that it is the job of law enforcement officials to devise effective weapons for fighting this war. But the effectiveness of a law enforcement technique is not proof of its constitutionality.… In my view, the law enforcement technique with which we are confronted in this case—the suspicionless police sweep of buses in intrastate or interstate travel—bears all of the indicia of coercion and unjustified intrusion associated with the general warrant. Because I believe that the bus sweep at issue in this case violates the core values of the Fourth Amendment, I dissent.

At issue in this case is a “new and increasingly common tactic in the war on drugs”: the suspicionless police sweep of buses in interstate or intrastate travel.… Typically under this technique, a group of state or federal officers will board a bus while it is stopped at an intermediate point on its route. Often displaying...

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Thurgood Marshall (Library of Congress)

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