Beneficial National Bank v. Anderson, 539 U.S. 1, 6 (2003)

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Opinion of the Court

pin v. May Dept. Stores Co., 218 F. 3d 919 (2000), we granted certiorari. 537 U. S. 1169 (2003).


A civil action filed in a state court may be removed to federal court if the claim is one "arising under" federal law. 1441(b). To determine whether the claim arises under federal law, we examine the "well pleaded" allegations of the complaint and ignore potential defenses: "[A] suit arises under the Constitution and laws of the United States only when the plaintiff's statement of his own cause of action shows that it is based upon those laws or that Constitution. It is not enough that the plaintiff alleges some anticipated defense to his cause of action and asserts that the defense is invalidated by some provision of the Constitution of the United States." Louisville & Nashville R. Co. v. Mottley, 211 U. S. 149, 152 (1908); see Taylor v. Anderson, 234 U. S. 74 (1914). Thus, a defense that relies on the preclusive effect of a prior federal judgment, Rivet v. Regions Bank of La., 522 U. S. 470 (1998), or the pre-emptive effect of a federal statute, Franchise Tax Bd. of Cal. v. Construction Laborers Vacation Trust for Southern Cal., 463 U. S. 1 (1983), will not provide a basis for removal. As a general rule, absent diversity jurisdiction, a case will not be removable if the complaint does not affirmatively allege a federal claim.

Congress has, however, created certain exceptions to that rule. For example, the Price-Anderson Act contains an unusual pre-emption provision, 42 U. S. C. 2014(hh), that not only gives federal courts jurisdiction over tort actions arising out of nuclear accidents but also expressly provides for removal of such actions brought in state court even when they assert only state-law claims. See El Paso Natural Gas Co. v. Neztsosie, 526 U. S. 473, 484-485 (1999).

We have also construed 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947 (LMRA), 29 U. S. C. 185, as not only pre-empting state law but also authorizing removal of ac-

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