Justice O'Connor, delivered the opinion of the Court.
The city of Chicago, like municipalities throughout the country, has an ordinance that provides for the designation and protection of historical landmarks. Chicago Municipal Code, Art. XVII, §§ 2-120-580 through 2-120-920 (1990). The city's Landmarks Ordinance is administered by the Commission on Chicago Historical and Architectural Landmarks (Chicago Landmarks Commission or Commission). Pursuant to the Illinois Administrative Review Law, Ill. Comp. Stat., ch. 735, §§ 5/3-103, 5/3-104 (Supp. 1997), judicial review of final decisions of a municipal landmarks commission lies in state circuit court. In this case, we are asked to consider whether a lawsuit filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County seeking judicial review of decisions of the Chicago Landmarks Commission may be removed to federal district court, where the case contains both federal constitutional and state administrative challenges to the Commission's decisions.
Respondents International College of Surgeons and the United States Section of the International College of Surgeons (jointly ICS) own two properties on North Lake Shore Drive in the city of Chicago. In July 1988, the Chicago Landmarks Commission made a preliminary determination that seven buildings on Lake Shore Drive, including two
In February 1989, after the Commission's preliminary determination, ICS executed a contract for the sale and redevelopment of its properties. The contract called for the developer, whose interest has since been acquired by respondent Robin Construction Company, to demolish all but the facades of the two mansions and to construct a high-rise condominium tower. In October 1990, ICS applied to the Landmarks Commission for the necessary permits to allow demolition of a designated landmark. The Commission denied the permit applications, finding that the proposed demolition would "adversely affect and destroy significant historical and architectural features of the [landmark] district." App. 49. ICS then reapplied for the permits under a provision of the Landmarks Ordinance allowing for exceptions in cases of economic hardship. The Commission again denied the applications, finding that ICS did not qualify for the hardship exception.
Following each of the Commission's decisions, ICS filed actions for judicial review in the Circuit Court of Cook County pursuant to the Illinois Administrative Review Law. Both of ICS' complaints raised a number of federal constitutional claims, including that the Landmarks and Designation Ordinances, both on their face and as applied, violate the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses and effect a taking of property without just compensation under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, and that the manner in which the Commission conducted its administrative proceedings violated ICS' rights to due process and equal protection. The complaints also sought relief under the Illinois Constitution as well as administrative review of the Commission's decisions denying the permits.
The Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reversed and remanded the case to state court, concluding that the District Court was without jurisdiction. 91 F.3d 981 (1996). The Seventh Circuit began its analysis by construing this Court's decisions in Chicago, R. I. & P. R. Co. v. Stude, 346 U.S. 574 (1954), and Horton v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 367 U.S. 348 (1961), which it read to suggest that "the character of the state judicial action" is significant when assessing whether proceedings to review state and local administrative decisions can be removed to federal court. 91 F. 3d, at 988. The court reasoned that, while Stude and Horton establish that proceedings to conduct de novo review of state agency action are subject to removal, the propriety of removing proceedings involving deferential review is still an open question. Relying on decisions from other Courts of Appeals that interpret the scope of a district court's diversity jurisdiction, the court determined that deferential review of state agency action was an appellate function that was "inconsistent
The court then applied those principles to this case. The court began by observing that, under the Illinois Administrative Review Law, judicial review of local administrative decisions is deferential and not de novo, because the reviewing court must accept the agency's findings of fact as presumptively correct and cannot hear new evidence. Id., at 991-992 (discussing Ill. Comp. Stat., ch. 735, § 5/3-110 (Supp. 1997)).
We granted certiorari to address whether a case containing claims that local administrative action violates federal law, but also containing state law claims for on-the-record review of the administrative findings, is within the jurisdiction of federal district courts. 520 U.S. 1164 (1997). Because neither the jurisdictional statutes nor our prior decisions suggest that federal jurisdiction is lacking in these circumstances, we now reverse.
We have reviewed on several occasions the circumstances in which cases filed initially in state court may be removed to federal court. See, e. g., Caterpillar Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 391-392 (1987); Metropolitan Life Ins. Co. v. Taylor, 481 U.S. 58, 63 (1987); Franchise Tax Bd. of Cal. v. Construction Laborers Vacation Trust for Southern Cal., 463 U.S. 1, 7-12 (1983). As a general matter, defendants may remove to the appropriate federal district court "any civil action brought in a State court of which the district courts of the United States have original jurisdiction." 28 U. S. C. § 1441(a). The propriety of removal thus depends on whether the case originally could have been filed in federal court. Caterpillar Inc., supra, at 392; Franchise Tax Bd., supra, at 8. The district courts have original jurisdiction under the federal question statute over cases "arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States." § 1331. "It is long settled law that a cause of action arises under federal law only when the plaintiff's well-pleaded complaint raises issues of federal law." Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., supra, at 63.
As for ICS' accompanying state law claims, this Court has long adhered to principles of pendent and ancillary jurisdiction by which the federal courts' original jurisdiction over federal questions carries with it jurisdiction over state law
Here, once the case was removed, the District Court had original jurisdiction over ICS' claims arising under federal law, and thus could exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the accompanying state law claims so long as those claims constitute "other claims that . . . form part of the same case or controversy." § 1367(a). We think it clear that they do. The claims for review of the Commission's decisions are legal "claims," in the sense that that term is generally used in this context to denote a judicially cognizable cause of action. And the state and federal claims "derive from a common nucleus of operative fact," Gibbs, supra, at 725, namely, ICS' unsuccessful efforts to obtain demolition permits from the Chicago Landmarks Commission. That is all the statute requires to establish supplemental jurisdiction (barring an
ICS, urging us to adopt the reasoning of the Court of Appeals, argues that the District Court was without jurisdiction over its actions because they contain state law claims that require on-the-record review of the Landmarks Commission's decisions. A claim that calls for deferential judicial review of a state administrative determination, ICS asserts, does not constitute a "civil action . . . of which the district courts of the United States have original jurisdiction" under 28 U. S. C. § 1441(a).
That reasoning starts with an erroneous premise. Because this is a federal question case, the relevant inquiry is not, as ICS submits, whether its state claims for on-therecord review of the Commission's decisions are "civil actions" within the "original jurisdiction" of a district court: The District Court's original jurisdiction derives from ICS' federal claims, not its state law claims. Those federal claims suffice to make the actions "civil actions" within the "original jurisdiction" of the district courts for purposes of removal. § 1441(a). The Court of Appeals, in fact, acknowledged that ICS' federal claims, "if brought alone, would be removable to federal court." 91 F. 3d, at 993. Nothing in the jurisdictional statutes suggests that the presence of related state law claims somehow alters the fact that ICS' complaints, by virtue of their federal claims, were "civil actions" within the federal courts' "original jurisdiction."
The dissent attributes a different line of argument to ICS. Post, at 186-187. That argument, roughly speaking, is that federal jurisdiction would lie over ICS' federal claims if they had been brought under 42 U. S. C. § 1983, because review would then range beyond the administrative record; but ICS deliberately confined review of its claims to the administrative record by raising them under the Illinois Administrative Review Law, thereby assuring itself a state forum. See Brief for Respondents 21-26. The essential premise of ICS' argument is that its actions arise solely under state law and so are not within the district courts' federal question jurisdiction, and that § 1367(a)—which presupposes a "civil action of which the district courts have original jurisdiction"—is thus inapplicable. Id., at 15-21.
That reasoning is incorrect because ICS in fact raised claims not bound by the administrative record (its facial constitutional claims), see supra, at 162, and because, as we have explained, see supra, at 164, the facial and as-applied federal
To the extent that ICS means to suggest not only that a claim involving deferential review of a local administrative decision is not a "civil action" in the "original jurisdiction" of the district courts, but also that such a claim can never constitute a claim "so related to claims . . . within such original jurisdiction that [it] form[s] part of the same case or controversy" for purposes of supplemental jurisdiction, we disagree
Nor do our decisions in Chicago, R. I. & P. R. Co. v. Stude, 346 U.S. 574 (1954), and Horton v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 367 U.S. 348 (1961), on which ICS principally relies, require that we read an equivalent exception into the statute. Both Stude and Horton —to the extent that either might be read to establish limits on the scope of federal jurisdiction—address only whether a cause of action for judicial review of a state administrative decision is within the district courts' original jurisdiction under the diversity statute, 28 U. S. C. § 1332, not whether it is a claim within the district courts' pendent jurisdiction in federal question cases. Even assuming, arguendo, that the decisions are relevant to the latter question, both Stude and Horton indicate that federal jurisdiction generally encompasses judicial review of state administrative decisions.
In Stude, for instance, a railroad company challenging the amount of a condemnation assessment attempted to establish federal jurisdiction by two separate routes. First, the railroad filed a complaint seeking review of the amount of the assessment in federal court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction, and second, it filed an appeal from the assessment in state court and then undertook to remove that case to federal court. As to the action filed directly in federal court, this Court upheld its dismissal, finding that state eminent domain proceedings were still pending and that the complaint
Moreover, reading the Court's statement broadly to suggest that federal courts can never review local administrative decisions would conflict with the Court's treatment of the second action in the case: the railroad's attempt to remove its state court appeal to federal court. With respect to that action, the Court held that removal was improper in the particular circumstances because the railroad was the plaintiff in state court. But the Court observed that, as a general matter, a state court action for judicial review of an administrative condemnation proceeding is "in its nature a civil action and subject to removal by the defendant to the United States District Court." Id., at 578-579; see County of Allegheny v. Frank Mashuda Co., 360 U.S. 185, 195 (1959) ("Although holding that the respondent could not remove a state condemnation case to the Federal District Court on diversity grounds because he was the plaintiff in the state proceeding, the Court [in Stude ] clearly recognized that the defendant in such a proceeding could remove in accordance with § 1441 and obtain a federal adjudication of the issues involved"). If anything, then, Stude indicates that the jurisdiction of federal district courts encompasses ICS' claims for review of the Landmarks Commission's decisions.
Horton is to the same effect, holding that a District Court had jurisdiction under the diversity statute to review a state
Any negative inference that might be drawn from that aspect of Horton, even assuming that the decision speaks to the scope of supplemental (and not diversity) jurisdiction, would be insufficient to trump the absence of indication in § 1367(a) that the nature of review bears on whether a claim is within a district court's supplemental jurisdiction. After all, district courts routinely conduct deferential review pursuant to their original jurisdiction over federal questions, including on-the-record review of federal administrative action. See Califano v. Sanders, 430 U.S. 99, 105-107 (1977). Nothing in § 1367(a) suggests that district courts are without supplemental jurisdiction over claims seeking precisely the same brand of review of local administrative determinations. Cf. Board of Ed. of Hendrick Hudson Central School Dist., Westchester Cty. v. Rowley, 458 U.S. 176, 206 (1982) (interpreting Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U. S. C. § 1415(e), which contemplates deferential review of state administrative action).
The dissent disagrees with our conclusion that 28 U. S. C. § 1367(a) encompasses state law claims for on-the-record review of local administrative action, but it is unclear exactly why, for the dissent never directly challenges our application
Of course, to say that the terms of § 1367(a) authorize the district courts to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over state law claims for on-the-record review of administrative decisions does not mean that the jurisdiction must be exercised in all cases. Our decisions have established that pendent jurisdiction "is a doctrine of discretion, not of plaintiff's right," Gibbs, 383 U. S., at 726, and that district courts can decline to exercise jurisdiction over pendent claims for a number of valid reasons, id., at 726-727. See also Cohill, 484 U. S., at 350 ("As articulated by Gibbs, the doctrine of pendent jurisdiction thus is a doctrine of flexibility, designed to allow courts to deal with cases involving pendent claims in the manner that most sensibly accommodates a range of concerns and values"). Accordingly, we have indicated that "district courts [should] deal with cases involving pendent claims in the manner that best serves the principles of economy,
The supplemental jurisdiction statute codifies these principles. After establishing that supplemental jurisdiction encompasses "other claims" in the same case or controversy as a claim within the district courts' original jurisdiction, § 1367(a), the statute confirms the discretionary nature of supplemental jurisdiction by enumerating the circumstances in which district courts can refuse its exercise:
Depending on a host of factors, then—including the circumstances of the particular case, the nature of the state law claims, the character of the governing state law, and the relationship between the state and federal claims—district courts may decline to exercise jurisdiction over supplemental state law claims. The statute thereby reflects the understanding that, when deciding whether to exercise supplemental jurisdiction, "a federal court should consider and weigh in each case, and at every stage of the litigation, the values of judicial economy, convenience, fairness, and comity." Cohill, supra, at 350. In this case, the District Court decided that those interests would be best served by exercising jurisdiction over ICS' state law claims. App. to Pet. for Cert. 45a—46a.
The District Court properly recognized that it could exercise supplemental jurisdiction over ICS' state law claims, including the claims for on-the-record administrative review of the Landmarks Commission's decisions. ICS contends that abstention principles required the District Court to decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction, and also alludes to its contention below that the District Court should have refused to exercise supplemental jurisdiction under 28 U. S. C. § 1367(c). We express no view on those matters, but think it the preferable course to allow the Court of Appeals to address them in the first instance. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remand the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
It is so ordered.
This now-federal case originated as an appeal in state court from a municipal agency's denials of demolition permits. The review that state law provides is classically appellate in character—on the agency's record, not de novo. Nevertheless, the Court decides today that this standard brand of appellate review can be shifted from the appropriate state tribunal to a federal court of first instance at the option of either party—plaintiff originally or defendant by removal. The Court approves this enlargement of district court authority explicitly in federal-question cases, and by inescapable implication in diversity cases, satisfied that "neither the jurisdictional statutes nor our prior decisions suggest that federal jurisdiction is lacking." Ante, at 163.
The Court's authorization of cross-system appeals qualifies as a watershed decision. After today, litigants asserting federal-question or diversity jurisdiction may routinely lodge in federal courts direct appeals from the actions of all manner of local (county and municipal) agencies, boards, and commissions. Exercising this cross-system appellate authority, federal courts may now directly superintend local agencies by affirming, reversing, or modifying their administrative rulings.
The Court relies on the statutory words found in both 28 U. S. C. §§ 1331 and 1332: "The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions . . . ." Then, as its linchpin, the Court emphasizes the 1990 codification and expansion, in § 1367, of what previously had been known as "ancillary jurisdiction" and "pendent jurisdiction." Specifically, the Court stresses the broad authorization in § 1367(a) for district court exercise of "supplemental jurisdiction" over claims "so related" to a "civil action of which the district courts have original jurisdiction" as to "form part of the same [Article III] case or controversy." See ante, at 164—
The Court's expansive reading, in my judgment, takes us far from anything Congress conceivably could have meant. Cf. Lynch v. Overholser, 369 U.S. 705, 710 (1962) ("The decisions of this Court have repeatedly warned against the dangers of an approach to statutory construction which confines itself to the bare words of a statute, for `literalness may strangle meaning.' ") (citations omitted). Cross-system appeals, if they are to be introduced into our federal system, should stem from the National Legislature's considered and explicit decision. In accord with the views of the large majority of federal judges who have considered the question, I would hold the cross-system appeal unauthorized by Congress, and affirm the Seventh Circuit's judgment.
Until now it has been taken almost for granted that federal courts of first instance lack authority under §§ 1331 and 1332 to displace state courts as forums for on-the-record review of state and local agency actions. In Chicago, R. I. & P. R. Co. v. Stude, 346 U.S. 574 (1954), we recalled the historic understanding: A federal district court "does not sit to review on appeal action taken administratively or judicially in
Today, the Court holds that Congress, by enacting § 1367, has authorized federal district courts to conduct deferential, on-the-record review of local agency decisions whenever a federal question is pended to the agency review action. Dismissing, as irrelevant to jurisdiction, the distinction between de novo and deferential review, the Court also provides easy access to federal court whenever the dissatisfied party in a local agency proceeding has the requisite diverse citizenship. The Court does all this despite the overwhelming weight of lower federal court decisions disclaiming cross-system appellate authority, and without even a hint from Congress that so startling a reallocation of power from state courts to federal courts was within the national lawmakers' contemplation.
Until today, federal habeas corpus proceedings were the closest we had come to cross-system appellate review. See 28 U. S. C. §§ 2241-2254.
When a local actor or agency violates a person's federal right, it is indeed true that the aggrieved party may bring an action under 42 U. S. C. § 1983 without first exhausting state remedies. See Patsy v. Board of Regents of Fla., 457 U.S. 496, 516 (1982). But such an action involves no disregard, as the cross-system appeal does, of the separateness of state and federal adjudicatory systems. In a § 1983 action, a federal (or state) court inquires whether a person, acting under color of state law, has subjected another "to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and [federal] laws." The court exercises original, not appellate, jurisdiction; it proceeds independently, not as substantial evidence reviewer on a nonfederal agency's record. As now-Chief Judge Posner explained:
To reach its landmark result, the Court holds that a district court may perform cross-system appellate review of administrative agency decisions so long as the plaintiff's complaint also contains related federal claims, for "[t]hose federal
Horton was a workers' compensation case proceeding in federal court on the basis of the parties' diverse citizenship. The contending parties were an injured worker and the insurance company that served as compensation carrier for the worker's employer. At the administrative stage, the Texas Industrial Accident Board made an award of $1,050. Neither side was satisfied. The insurer maintained that the worker was entitled to no compensation, while the worker urged his entitlement to the statutory maximum of $14,035. The insurer brought suit first, filing its complaint in federal court; one week later, the worker filed a state-court suit and sought dismissal of the insurer's federal action on alternative grounds: (1) the matter in controversy did not meet § 1332's monetary amount requirement (then "in excess of $10,000"); (2) the insurer's suit was "nothing more than an appeal from a state administrative order" and federal courts have "no appellate jurisdiction" over such orders, 367 U. S., at 354.
After concluding that the jurisdictional amount requirement was met, the Court turned to the question whether the federal-court proceeding was in fact an "appeal," and therefore barred under Stude, which, as the Horton Court described it,"held that a United States District Court was without jurisdiction to consider an appeal `taken administratively or judicially in a state proceeding.' " 367 U. S., at 354 (quoting Stude, 346 U. S., at 581). On that matter, the Texas Supreme Court's construction of the State's compensation law left no room for debate. When suit commences, the administrative award is vacated and the court determines liability de novo. See 367 U. S.,at 355, n. 15. The suit to set
Remarkably, the Court today asserts that neither Stude nor Horton "suggest[ed] that jurisdiction turned on whether judicial review of the administrative determination was deferential or de novo. " Ante, at 170; see also ante, at 171 ("The Court [in Horton ] did not purport to hold that the de novo standard was a precondition to federal jurisdiction."). The Court thus casts aside the critical difference between fresh first instance proceedings not tied to a record made by a tribunal lower in the hierarchy, and on-the-record substantial evidence review, which cannot fairly be described as anything but appellate in character.
If, as the Court reasons today, the distinction between de novo and deferential review is inconsequential, then a district court may, indeed must, entertain cross-system, onthe-record appeals from local agency decisions—without regard to the presence or absence of any federal question— whenever the parties meet the diversity-of-citizenship requirement of § 1332. The Court so confirms by noting that, in accord with Califano v. Sanders, 430 U.S. 99, 105-107 (1977), "district courts routinely conduct deferential review [of federal administrative action] pursuant to their original jurisdiction over federal questions." Ante, at 171. Just as routinely, it now appears, district courts must "conduct deferential review [of local administrative action] pursuant to their original jurisdiction over [diversity cases]."
The Court's homogenization of de novo proceedings and appellate review rests on a single case, Califano v. Sanders. In Sanders, the Court settled a longstanding division of opinion over whether § 10 of the federal Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U. S. C. §§ 701-704, ranked as an independent grant of subject-matter jurisdiction to federal courts, allowing them to review the actions of federal agencies,
Whatever the reason for the rule implicit in Sanders —that federal district courts may engage in on-the-record, substantial evidence review of federal agency actions under § 1331— Chicago homes in on the statutory language. See Brief for Petitioners 11, 30, 39. Section 1331 reads: "The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States." If deferential, on-the-record review of a federal agency's action qualifies as a "civil action" within a district court's "original jurisdiction," Chicago urges, then deferential, on-the-record review of local agency action must fit the same bill, i. e. , such review must qualify as a "civil action" within the district court's "original jurisdiction."
But one of these things is not necessarily like the other. I recognize that the bare and identical words "original jurisdiction" and "civil action" in §§ 1331 and 1332 comport with
Cases "arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States" within the meaning of § 1331 compose a collection smaller than the one fitting within the similarly worded Clause in Article III of the Constitution, "Cases . . . arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made." See, e. g. , Louisville & Nashville R. Co. v. Mottley, 211 U.S. 149, 152 (1908); Shoshone Mining Co. v. Rutter, 177 U.S. 505, 513 (1900). Diversity of citizenship must be complete to proceed under § 1332, see Strawbridge v. Curtiss, 3 Cranch 267, 268 (1806), but it may be "minimal" in interpleader cases brought under § 1335, see State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. v. Tashire, 386 U.S. 523, 530-531 (1967).
Significantly, in assuming that § 1331 ordinarily would be available when a person complains about arbitrary federal administrative action, the Court in Sanders never fixed on the words of § 1331, and never even mentioned in relation to that provision the terms "civil action" or "original jurisdiction." The Court simply concluded from the legislative history that Congress meant to fill "an interstitial gap," 430 U. S., at 107, i. e. , Congress meant to hold federal agencies accountable by making their actions subject to judicial review.
Statutes like the Illinois Administrative Review Law, Ill. Comp. Stat., ch. 735, §§ 5/3-103, 5/3-104 (Supp. 1997), explicitly provide for state-court judicial review of state and local agency decisions. Unlike the federal picture the Court confronted
Just last Term, two Members of today's majority recognized the vital interest States have in developing and elaborating state administrative law, for that law regulates the citizen's contact with state and local government at every turn, for example, in gaining life-sustaining public benefits, obtaining a license, or, as in this case, receiving a permit. Last Term's lead opinion observed:
Today's decision jeopardizes the "strong interest" courts of the State have in controlling the actions of local as well as state agencies. State court superintendence can now be displaced or dislodged in any case against a local agency in
The Court insists that there is no escape from this erosion of state-court authority. Its explanation is less than compelling. The Court describes as the alternative "ICS' proposed approach." See ante, at 167. That approach, according to the Court, would have us determine first "whether [ICS's] state claims constitute `civil actions' within a district court's `original jurisdiction.' " Ibid. The Court then demolishes the supposed approach by observing that it "would effectively read the supplemental jurisdiction statute out of the books." Ibid.; see also ante, at 167-169.
I do not find in ICS's brief the approach the Court constructs, then destructs. Instead, the argument I do find, see Brief for Respondents 21-24, runs as follows. Chicago has tried to persuade the Court that ICS's "Complaints for Administrative Review are no different than civil rights actions." Id., at 21. See Notice of Removal for Petitioner in No. 91 C 1587 (ND Ill.), App. 15 ("it appears from the face of plaintiffs' complaint that this is a civil rights complaint"). ICS acknowledged that it might have chosen to bypass onthe-record administrative review in state court, invoking federal jurisdiction under § 1983 instead, without exhausting state remedies. Brief for Respondents 22-24. Had ICS done so, review would have been "plenary in its scope" and would not have been "confined by the administrative record." Id., at 24. But ICS did not take that path. It proceeded under the Illinois Administrative Review Law seeking resolution of both state-law and federal constitutional issues "in the context of on-the-record administrative review." Id., at 22. The distinction between the appellate review it sought and the first instance action it did not bring "is crucial," ICS argued. Ibid.
In sum, from start to finish, ICS sought accurately to portray the Seventh Circuit's resistance to "federaliz[ing]," without explicit congressional instruction to do so, "gardenvariety
Even if the Court were correct in maintaining that Congress thrust local administrative agency on-the-record review proceedings into federal court at the option of either party, given diversity or an ultimate constitutional argument, the Court's reluctance to "articulat[e] general standards" for the guidance of the lower courts is puzzling. Cf. Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 698 (1984) (after "articulat[ing] general standards for judging ineffectiveness [of counsel] claims," the Court considered it "useful to apply those standards to the facts of th[e] case in order to illustrate the meaning of the general principles"). ICS, seeking such guidance, did not simply "allud[e] to" the District Court's extraordinary course. Cf. ante, at 174. This is a summary of the points ICS made in urging the impropriety of federalcourt retention of the case, assuming, arguendo, federalcourt power to keep it. The permits in question were sought under Chicago's Landmarks Ordinance, a measure "Illinois courts have never had an opportunity to interpret." Brief for Respondents 4. "The issues of Illinois constitutional
The District Court disposed of ICS's federal equal protection and due process claims in less than 13 pages of its 63page opinion, App. to Pet. for Cert. 33a—46a, and then devoted over 40 pages more to the state-law claims. Id., at 46a—89a. That court wrote at greatest length on whether the Landmarks Commission's conclusions were "Against the Manifest Weight of the Evidence." Id., at 73a—89a. Finally, the District Court "affirm[ed] the Commission's decisions." Id., at 89a. It would have been in order for this Court to have recalled, in face of the District Court's federal-claims-first approach, the "fundamental rule of judicial restraint" that federal courts "will not reach constitutional questions in advance of the necessity of deciding them." Three Affiliated Tribes of Fort Berthold Reservation v. Wold Engineering, P. C., 467 U.S. 138, 157 (1984). As a rule, potentially dispositive state-law challenges, not ultimate constitutional questions, should be cleared first. See, e. g. , Hagans v. Lavine, 415 U.S. 528, 546-547 (1974).
When local official actions are contested on state and federal grounds, and particularly when construction of a state measure or local ordinance is at issue, the state questions stand at the threshold. In this case, for example, had ICS's construction of the Landmarks Ordinance prevailed, no federal constitutional question would have ripened. The Court does note that § 1367(c) "enumerat[es] the circumstances in which district courts can refuse [to] exercise [supplemental
Section 1367(c), which concerns supplemental jurisdiction, will have no utility in diversity cases where, if jurisdiction exists, it is generally not within the court's discretion to "decline." And lower courts have found our abstention pronouncements "less than pellucid." See R. Fallon, D. Meltzer, & D. Shapiro, Hart and Wechsler's The Federal Courts and the Federal System 1247, 1251 (4th ed. 1996). Which of our "various abstention principles," ante, at 174, should the lower federal courts consult when asked to review as an appellate instance, and affirm, modify, or reverse, a local license or permit denial? To dispel confusion and advance comity, should the lower courts endeavor to fashion—and will we eventually declare—a "Chicago" abstention doctrine?
Given the state forum to which ICS resorted, and the questions it raised there, see App. 26-35, 76-77, ICS's primary contention is clear: The Commission should have granted, under state law, demolition permits or an economic hardship exception. I do not comprehend the Court's reasons for suggesting that the District Court may have acted
In Ankenbrandt v. Richards, 504 U.S. 689 (1992), we addressed the question whether civil actions for divorce, alimony, or child custody fall within § 1332 when the parties are of diverse citizenship. Nothing in the text of the Constitution or in the words of § 1332 excluded parties from bringing such "civil actions" in federal court. Historically, however, decrees terminating marriages had been considered wholly within the State's domain. See Barber v. Barber, 21 How. 582 (1859). That understanding, we noted in Ankenbrandt, had prevailed "for nearly a century and a half." 504 U. S., at 694-695. "Given the long passage of time without any expression of congressional dissatisfaction," we reaffirmed the absence of statutory jurisdiction for federal court adjudication of original civil actions for divorce, alimony, and child custody. Id., at 703. The Court explained that its conclusion was also
This Court said in Finley v. United States, 490 U.S. 545, 547-548 (1989):
As I see it, no Act of Congress adverts to and authorizes any cross-system appeal from state or local administrative agency to lower federal court. I would await express legislative direction before proceeding down that road. Accordingly, I would affirm the Seventh Circuit's judgment.