Nike, Inc. v. Kasky, 539 U.S. 654, 18 (2003)

Page:   Index   Previous  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24  25  Next

Cite as: 539 U. S. 654 (2003)

Breyer, J., dissenting

That is because this Court has interpreted the statute's phrase "final judgment" to refer, in certain circumstances, to a state court's final determination of a federal issue, even if the determination of that issue occurs in the midst of ongoing litigation. Cox Broadcasting Corp. v. Cohn, 420 U. S. 469, 477 (1975). In doing so, the Court has said that it thereby takes a "pragmatic approach," not a "mechanical" approach, to "determining finality." Id., at 477, 486 (emphasis added). And it has set forth several criteria that determine when an interim state-court judgment is "final" for purposes of the statute, thereby permitting our consideration of the federal matter at issue.

The four criteria relevant here are those determining whether a decision falls within what is known as Cox's "fourth category" or "fourth exception." They consist of the following:

(1) "the federal issue has been finally decided in the state courts"; (2) in further pending proceedings, "the party seeking review here might prevail on the merits on nonfederal grounds, thus rendering unnecessary review of the federal issue by this Court"; (3) "reversal of the state court on the federal issue would be preclusive of any further litigation on the relevant cause of action rather than merely controlling the nature and character of, or determining the admissibility of evidence in, the state proceedings still to come"; and (4) "a refusal immediately to review the state-court decision might seriously erode federal policy." Id., at 482-483.

Each of these four conditions is satisfied in this case.


Viewed from Cox's "pragmatic" perspective, "the federal issue has been finally decided in the state courts." Id., at


Page:   Index   Previous  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24  25  Next

Last modified: October 4, 2007