Justice White, delivered the opinion of the Court.
This case presents the question whether the implied right of action under Title IX of the Education Amendments of
Petitioner Christine Franklin was a student at North Gwinnett High School in Gwinnett County, Georgia, between September 1985 and August 1989. Respondent Gwinnett County School District operates the high school and receives federal funds. According to the complaint filed on December 29, 1988, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Franklin was subjected to continual sexual harassment beginning in the autumn of her tenth grade year (1986) from Andrew Hill, a sports coach and teacher employed by the district. Among other allegations, Franklin avers that Hill engaged her in sexually oriented conversations in which he asked about her sexual experiences with her boyfriend and whether she would consider having sexual intercourse with an older man, Complaint ¶ 10; First Amended Complaint, Exh. A, p. 3;
In this action,
Because this opinion conflicts with a decision of the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, see Pfeiffer v. Marion Center Area School Dist., 917 F.2d 779, 787-789 (1990), we granted certiorari, 501 U.S. 1204 (1991). We reverse.
In Cannon v. University of Chicago, 441 U.S. 677 (1979), the Court held that Title IX is enforceable through an implied right of action. We have no occasion here to reconsider that decision. Rather, in this case we must decide what remedies are available in a suit brought pursuant to this implied right. As we have often stated, the question of what remedies are available under a statute that provides a private right of action is "analytically distinct" from the issue
"[W]here legal rights have been invaded, and a federal statute provides for a general right to sue for such invasion, federal courts may use any available remedy to make good the wrong done." Bell v. Hood, 327 U.S. 678, 684 (1946). The Court explained this longstanding rule as jurisdictional and upheld the exercise of the federal courts' power to award appropriate relief so long as a cause of action existed under the Constitution or laws of the United States. Ibid.
The Bell Court's reliance on this rule was hardly revolutionary. From the earliest years of the Republic, the Court has recognized the power of the Judiciary to award appropriate remedies to redress injuries actionable in federal court, although it did not always distinguish clearly between a right to bring suit and a remedy available under such a right. In Marbury v. Madison, 1 Cranch 137, 163 (1803), for example, Chief Justice Marshall observed that our Government "has been emphatically termed a government of laws, and not of men. It will certainly cease to deserve this high appellation, if the laws furnish no remedy for the violation of a vested legal right." This principle originated in the English common law, and Blackstone described it as "a general and indisputable rule, that where there is a legal right, there is also a legal remedy, by suit or action at law, whenever that right is invaded." 3 W. Blackstone, Commentaries 23 (1783). See also Ashby v. White, 1 Salk. 19, 21, 87 Eng.
In Kendall v. United States ex rel. Stokes, 12 Pet. 524 (1838), the Court applied these principles to an Act of Congress that accorded a right of action in mail carriers to sue for adjustment and settlement of certain claims for extra services but which did not specify the precise remedy available to the carriers. After surveying possible remedies, which included an action against the Postmaster General for monetary damages, the Court held that the carriers were entitled to a writ of mandamus compelling payment under the terms of the statute. "It cannot be denied but that congress had the power to command that act to be done," the Court stated; "and the power to enforce the performance of the act must rest somewhere, or it will present a case which has often been said to involve a monstrous absurdity in a well organized government, that there should be no remedy, although a clear and undeniable right should be shown to exist. And if the remedy cannot be applied by the circuit court of this district, it exists nowhere." Id., at 624. Dooley v. United States, 182 U.S. 222, 229 (1901), also restated "the principle that a liability created by statute without a remedy may be enforced by a common-law action."
The Court relied upon this traditional presumption again after passage of the Federal Safety Appliance Act of 1893, ch. 196, 27 Stat. 531. In Texas & Pacific R. Co. v. Rigsby, 241 U.S. 33 (1916), the Court first had to determine whether the Act supported an implied right of action. After answering that question in the affirmative, the Court then upheld a claim for monetary damages: "A disregard of the command of the statute is a wrongful act, and where it results in damage to one of the class for whose especial benefit the statute was enacted, the right to recover the damages from the party in default is implied, according to a doctrine of the common law . . . ." Id., at 39. The foundation upon which the Bell v. Hood Court articulated this traditional presumption,
Respondents and the United States as amicus curiae, however, maintain that whatever the traditional presumption may have been when the Court decided Bell v. Hood, it has disappeared in succeeding decades. We do not agree. In J. I. Case Co. v. Borak, 377 U.S. 426 (1964), the Court adhered to the general rule that all appropriate relief is available in an action brought to vindicate a federal right when Congress has given no indication of its purpose with respect to remedies. Relying on Bell v. Hood, the Borak Court specifically rejected an argument that a court's remedial power to redress violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 was limited to a declaratory judgment. 377 U. S., at 433-434. The Court concluded that the federal courts "have the power to grant all necessary remedial relief" for violations of the Act. Id., at 435. As Justice Clark's opinion for the Court observed, this holding closely followed the reasoning of a similar case brought under the Securities Act of 1933, in which the Court had stated:
That a statute does not authorize the remedy at issue "in so many words is no more significant than the fact that it does not in terms authorize execution to issue on a judgment." Id., at 288. Subsequent cases have been true to this position.
The United States contends that the traditional presumption in favor of all appropriate relief was abandoned by the Court in Davis v. Passman, 442 U.S. 228 (1979), and that the Bell v. Hood rule was limited to actions claiming constitutional violations. The United States quotes language in Davis to the effect that "the question of who may enforce a statutory right is fundamentally different from the question of who may enforce a right that is protected by the Constitution." Davis, 442 U. S., at 241. The Government's position, however, mirrors the very misunderstanding over the difference between a cause of action and the relief afforded under it that sparked the confusion we attempted to clarify in Davis. Whether Congress may limit the class of persons who have a right of action under Title IX is irrelevant to the issue in this lawsuit. To reiterate, "the question whether a litigant has a `cause of action' is analytically distinct and prior to the question of what relief, if any, a litigant may be entitled to receive." Id., at 239. Davis, therefore, did nothing to interrupt the long line of cases in which the Court has held that if a right of action exists to enforce a federal right and Congress is silent on the question of remedies, a federal court may order any appropriate relief. See id., at 247, n. 26 (contrasting Brown v. GSA, 425 U.S. 820 (1976)).
We now address whether Congress intended to limit application of this general principle in the enforcement of Title IX. See Bush v. Lucas, 462 U.S. 367, 378 (1983); Wyandotte Transportation Co. v. United States, 389 U.S. 191, 200 (1967). Because the cause of action was inferred by the Court in Cannon, the usual recourse to statutory text and legislative history in the period prior to that decision necessarily will not enlighten our analysis. Respondents and the United States fundamentally misunderstand the nature of the inquiry, therefore, by needlessly dedicating large portions of their briefs to discussions of how the text and legislative intent behind Title IX are "silent" on the issue of available remedies. Since the Court in Cannon concluded that this statute supported no express right of action, it is hardly surprising that Congress also said nothing about the applicable remedies for an implied right of action.
During the period prior to the decision in Cannon, the inquiry in any event is not "`basically a matter of statutory construction,' " as the United States asserts. Brief for United States as Amicus Curiae 8 (quoting Transamerica Mortgage Advisors, Inc. v. Lewis, 444 U.S. 11, 15 (1979)). Rather, in determining Congress' intent to limit application of the traditional presumption in favor of all appropriate relief, we evaluate the state of the law when the Legislature passed Title IX. Cf. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc. v. Curran, 456 U.S. 353, 378 (1982). In the years before and after Congress enacted this statute, the Court "follow[ed] a common-law tradition [and] regarded the denial of a remedy as the exception rather than the rule." Id., at 375 (footnote omitted). As we outlined in Part II, this has been the prevailing presumption in our federal
In the years after the announcement of Cannon, on the other hand, a more traditional method of statutory analysis is possible, because Congress was legislating with full cognizance of that decision. Our reading of the two amendments to Title IX enacted after Cannon leads us to conclude that Congress did not intend to limit the remedies available in a suit brought under Title IX. In the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1986, 100 Stat. 1845, 42 U. S. C. § 2000d—7, Congress abrogated the States' Eleventh Amendment immunity under Title IX, Title VI, § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975. This statute cannot be read except as a validation of Cannon `s holding. A subsection of the 1986 law provides that in a suit against a State, "remedies (including remedies both at law and in equity) are available for such a violation to the same extent as such remedies are available for such a violation in the suit against any public or private entity other than a
In addition to the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1986, Congress also enacted the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987, Pub. L. 100-259, 102 Stat. 28. Without in any way altering the existing rights of action and the corresponding remedies permissible under Title IX, Title VI, § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Age Discrimination Act, Congress broadened the coverage of these antidiscrimination provisions in this legislation. In seeking to correct what it considered to be an unacceptable decision on our part in Grove City College v. Bell, 465 U.S. 555 (1984), Congress made no effort to restrict the right of action recognized in Cannon and ratified in the 1986 Act or to alter the traditional presumption in favor of any appropriate relief for violation of a federal right. We cannot say, therefore, that Congress has limited the remedies available to a complainant in a suit brought under Title IX.
Respondents and the United States nevertheless suggest three reasons why we should not apply the traditional presumption in favor of appropriate relief in this case.
First, respondents argue that an award of damages violates separation of powers principles because it unduly expands the federal courts' power into a sphere properly reserved to the Executive and Legislative Branches. Brief for Respondents 22-25. In making this argument, respondents misconceive the difference between a cause of action and a remedy. Unlike the finding of a cause of action, which authorizes a court to hear a case or controversy, the discretion
Next, consistent with the Court of Appeals' reasoning, respondents and the United States contend that the normal presumption in favor of all appropriate remedies should not apply because Title IX was enacted pursuant to Congress' Spending Clause power. In Pennhurst State School and Hospital v. Halderman, 451 U.S. 1, 28-29 (1981), the Court observed that remedies were limited under such Spending Clause statutes when the alleged violation was unintentional. Respondents and the United States maintain that this presumption should apply equally to intentional violations. We disagree. The point of not permitting monetary damages for an unintentional violation is that the receiving entity of federal funds lacks notice that it will be liable for a monetary award. See id., at 17. This notice problem does
Finally, the United States asserts that the remedies permissible under Title IX should nevertheless be limited to backpay and prospective relief. In addition to diverging from our traditional approach to deciding what remedies are available for violation of a federal right, this position conflicts with sound logic. First, both remedies are equitable in nature, and it is axiomatic that a court should determine
In sum, we conclude that a damages remedy is available for an action brought to enforce Title IX. The judgment of the Court of Appeals, therefore, is reversed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
Justice Scalia, with whom The Chief Justice and Justice Thomas join, concurring in the judgment.
The substantive right at issue here is one that Congress did not expressly create, but that this Court found to be "implied." See Cannon v. University of Chicago, 441 U.S. 677 (1979). Quite obviously, the search for what was Congress' remedial intent as to a right whose very existence Congress did not expressly acknowledge is unlikely to succeed, see ante, at 71; it is "hardly surprising," as the Court says, ibid., that the usual sources yield no explicit answer.
In my view, when rights of action are judicially "implied," categorical limitations upon their remedial scope may be judicially implied as well. Cf. Cort v. Ash, 422 U.S. 66, 84-85 (1975). Although we have abandoned the expansive rights-creating approach exemplified by Cannon, see Touche Ross & Co. v. Redington, 442 U.S. 560, 575-576 (1979); Transamerica Mortgage Advisors, Inc. v. Lewis, 444 U.S. 11, 18, 23-24 (1979)—and perhaps ought to abandon the notion of implied causes of action entirely, see Thompson v. Thompson, 484 U.S. 174, 191 (1988) (Scalia, J., concurring
I nonetheless agree with the Court's disposition of this case. Because of legislation enacted subsequent to Cannon, it is too late in the day to address whether a judicially implied exclusion of damages under Title IX would be appropriate. The Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1986, 42 U. S. C. § 2000d—7(a)(2), must be read, in my view, not only "as a validation of Cannon `s holding," ante, at 72, but also as an implicit acknowledgment that damages are available. See 42 U. S. C. § 2000d—7(a)(1) (withdrawing the States' Eleventh Amendment immunity); § 2000d—7(a)(2) (providing that, in suits against States, "remedies (including remedies both at law and in equity) are available for [violations of Title IX] to the same extent as such remedies are available for such a violation in the suit against any public or private entity other than a State"). I therefore concur in the judgment.
Peter J. Kadzik and Arlene B. Mayerson filed a brief for the American Council of the Blind et al. as amici curiae.