Beneficial National Bank v. Anderson, 539 U.S. 1, 12 (2003)

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12

BENEFICIAL NAT. BANK v. ANDERSON

Scalia, J., dissenting

have original jurisdiction." 28 U. S. C. 1441(a). In this case, petitioners invoked as the predicate for removal the district courts' original jurisdiction over "all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States." 1331.

This so-called "arising under" or "federal question" jurisdiction has long been governed by the well-pleaded-complaint rule, which provides that "federal jurisdiction exists only when a federal question is presented on the face of the plaintiff's properly pleaded complaint." Caterpillar Inc. v. Williams, 482 U. S. 386, 392 (1987). A federal question "is presented" when the complaint invokes federal law as the basis for relief. It does not suffice that the facts alleged in support of an asserted state-law claim would also support a federal claim. "The [well-pleaded-complaint] rule makes the plaintiff the master of the claim; he or she may avoid federal jurisdiction by exclusive reliance on state law." Ibid. See also The Fair v. Kohler Die & Specialty Co., 228 U. S. 22, 25 (1913) ("Of course the party who brings a suit is master to decide what law he will rely upon"). Nor does it even suffice that the facts alleged in support of an asserted state-law claim do not support a state-law claim and would only support a federal claim. "Jurisdiction may not be sustained on a theory that the plaintiff has not advanced." Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc. v. Thompson, 478 U. S. 804, 809, n. 6 (1986).

Under the well-pleaded-complaint rule, "a federal court does not have original jurisdiction over a case in which the complaint presents a state-law cause of action, but also asserts that federal law deprives the defendant of a defense he may raise, . . . or that a federal defense the defendant may raise is not sufficient to defeat the claim." Franchise Tax Bd. of Cal. v. Construction Laborers Vacation Trust for Southern Cal., 463 U. S. 1, 10 (1983). Of critical importance here, the rejection of a federal defense as the basis for original federal-question jurisdiction applies with equal force

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