Darby v. Cisneros, 509 U.S. 137, 7 (1993)

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Cite as: 509 U. S. 137 (1993)

Opinion of the Court

Courts of Appeals,8 we granted certiorari. 506 U. S. 952 (1992).

II

Section 10(c) of the APA bears the caption "Actions reviewable." It provides in its first two sentences that judicial review is available for "final agency action for which there is no other adequate remedy in a court," and that "preliminary, procedural, or intermediate agency action . . . is subject to review on the review of the final agency action." The last sentence of 10(c) reads:

"Except as otherwise expressly required by statute, agency action otherwise final is final for the purposes of this section whether or not there has been presented or determined an application for a declaratory order, for any form of reconsideration [see n. 1, supra], or, unless the agency otherwise requires by rule and provides that the action meanwhile is inoperative, for an appeal to superior agency authority." 80 Stat. 392-393, 5 U. S. C. 704.

Petitioners argue that this provision means that a litigant seeking judicial review of a final agency action under the APA need not exhaust available administrative remedies unless such exhaustion is expressly required by statute or agency rule. According to petitioners, since 10(c) contains an explicit exhaustion provision, federal courts are not free to require further exhaustion as a matter of judicial discretion.

8 The Fourth Circuit's ruling in this case appears to be consistent with Montgomery v. Rumsfeld, 572 F. 2d 250, 253-254 (CA9 1978), and Missouri v. Bowen, 813 F. 2d 864 (CA8 1987), but is in considerable tension with United States v. Consolidated Mines & Smelting Co., 455 F. 2d 432, 439-440 (CA9 1971); New England Coalition on Nuclear Pollution v. United States Nuclear Regulatory Comm'n, 582 F. 2d 87, 99 (CA1 1978); and Gulf Oil Corp. v. United States Dept. of Energy, 214 U. S. App. D. C. 119, 131, and n. 73, 663 F. 2d 296, 308, and n. 73 (1981).

143

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