Franklin v. Gwinnett County Public Schools, 503 U.S. 60, 15 (1992)

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Opinion of the Court

tion to award appropriate relief involves no such increase in judicial power. See generally Note, Federal Jurisdiction in Suits for Damages Under Statutes Not Affording Such Remedy, 48 Colum. L. Rev. 1090, 1094-1095 (1948). Federal courts cannot reach out to award remedies when the Constitution or laws of the United States do not support a cause of action. Indeed, properly understood, respondents' position invites us to abdicate our historic judicial authority to award appropriate relief in cases brought in our court system. It is well to recall that such authority historically has been thought necessary to provide an important safeguard against abuses of legislative and executive power, see Kendall v. United States ex rel. Stokes, 12 Pet. 524 (1838), as well as to ensure an independent Judiciary. See generally Katz, The Jurisprudence of Remedies: Constitutional Legality and the Law of Torts in Bell v. Hood, 117 U. Pa. L. Rev. 1, 16-17 (1968). Moreover, selective abdication of the sort advocated here would harm separation of powers principles in another way, by giving judges the power to render inutile causes of action authorized by Congress through a decision that no remedy is available.


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

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