Franklin v. Gwinnett County Public Schools, 503 U.S. 60, 7 (1992)

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Opinion of the Court

of whether such a right exists in the first place. Davis v. Passman, 442 U. S. 228, 239 (1979). Thus, although we examine the text and history of a statute to determine whether Congress intended to create a right of action, Touche Ross & Co. v. Redington, 442 U. S. 560, 575-576 (1979), we presume the availability of all appropriate remedies unless Congress has expressly indicated otherwise. Davis, supra, at 246- 247. This principle has deep roots in our jurisprudence.


"[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.

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