Beneficial National Bank v. Anderson, 539 U.S. 1, 13 (2003)

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Cite as: 539 U. S. 1 (2003)

Scalia, J., dissenting

when the defense is one of federal pre-emption. "By unimpeachable authority, a suit brought upon a state statute does not arise under an act of Congress or the Constitution of the United States because prohibited thereby." Gully v. First Nat. Bank in Meridian, 299 U. S. 109, 116 (1936). "[A] case may not be removed to federal court on the basis of . . . the defense of pre-emption . . . ." Caterpillar, supra, at 393. To be sure, pre-emption requires a state court to dismiss a particular claim that is filed under state law, but it does not, as a general matter, provide grounds for removal.

This Court has twice recognized exceptions to the well-pleaded-complaint rule, upholding removal jurisdiction notwithstanding the absence of a federal question on the face of the plaintiff's complaint. First, in Avco Corp. v. Machinists, 390 U. S. 557 (1968), we allowed removal of a state-court action to enforce a no-strike clause in a collective-bargaining agreement. The complaint concededly did not advance a federal claim, but was subject to a defense of pre-emption under 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947 (LMRA), 29 U. S. C. 185. The well-pleaded-complaint rule notwithstanding, we treated the plaintiff's state-law contract claim as one arising under 301, and held that the case could be removed to federal court. Avco, supra, at 560.

The only support mustered by the Avco Court for its conclusion was a statement wrenched out of context from our decision in Textile Workers v. Lincoln Mills of Ala., 353 U. S. 448, 457 (1957), that "[a]ny state law applied [in a 301 case] will be absorbed as federal law and will not be an independent source of private rights." To begin with, this statement is entirely unnecessary to the landmark holding in Lincoln Mills—that 301 not only gives federal courts jurisdiction to decide labor relations cases but also supplies them with authority to create the governing substantive law. Id., at 456. More importantly, understood in the context of that holding, the quoted passage in no way supports the proposition for which it is relied upon in Avco—that state-


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