Quackenbush v. Allstate Ins. Co., 517 U.S. 706, 10 (1996)

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Cite as: 517 U. S. 706 (1996)

Opinion of the Court

Court's remand order can only be obtained through a petition for writ of mandamus. To the extent Thermtron would require us to ignore the implications of our later holding in Moses H. Cone, however, we disavow it. Thermtron's determination that remand orders are not reviewable "final judgments" doubtless was necessary to the resolution of that case, see 423 U. S., at 352 (posing the question whether mandamus was the appropriate vehicle), but our principal concern in Thermtron was the interpretation of the bar to appellate review embodied in 28 U. S. C. 1447(d), see supra, at 711-712, and our statement concerning the appropriate procedural vehicle for reviewing a district court's remand order was peripheral to that concern. Moreover, the parties in Thermtron did not brief the question, our opinion does not refer to Catlin or its definition of "final decisions," and our opinion nowhere addresses whether any class of remand order might be appealable under the collateral order doctrine. Indeed, the only support Thermtron cites for the proposition that remand orders are reviewable only by mandamus, not by appeal, is Railroad Co. v. Wiswall, 23 Wall. 507 (1875), the superannuated reasoning of which is of little vitality today, compare id., at 508 (deeming a "writ of error to review what has been done" an inappropriate vehicle for reviewing a court of appeals' "refusal to hear and decide"), with Moses H. Cone, 460 U. S., at 10-11, n. 11 (holding that a stay order is appealable because it amounts to a refusal to hear and decide a case).

Admittedly, remand orders like the one entered in this case do not meet the traditional definition of finality—they do not "en[d] the litigation on the merits and leav[e] nothing for the court to do but execute the judgment," Catlin, 324 U. S., at 233. But because the District Court's remand order is functionally indistinguishable from the stay order we found appealable in Moses H. Cone, see supra, at 714, we conclude that it is appealable, and turn to the merits of the Ninth Circuit's decision respecting Burford abstention.


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