Granfinanciera, S.A. v. Nordberg
492 U.S. 33 (1989)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Granfinanciera, S.A. v. Nordberg, 492 U.S. 33 (1989)

Granfinanciera, S.A. v. Nordberg

No. 87-1716

Argued January 9, 1989

Decided June 23, 1989

492 U.S. 33

CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR

THE ELEVENTH CIRCUIT

Syllabus

Respondent, the bankruptcy trustee for a corporation undergoing Chapter 11 reorganization, filed suit in the District Court against petitioners, seeking to avoid allegedly fraudulent monetary transfers to them by the bankrupt corporation's predecessor and to recover damages, costs, expenses, and interest. The court referred the proceedings to the Bankruptcy Court. Shortly after the Colombian Government nationalized petitioner Granfinanciera, S. A., petitioners requested a jury trial. The Bankruptcy Judge denied the request, deeming a suit to recover a fraudulent transfer a "core action" which, under his understanding of English common law, "was a nonjury issue." The District Court affirmed the Bankruptcy Court's judgment for respondent, without discussing petitioners' jury trial request. The Court of Appeals also affirmed, ruling, inter alia, that the Seventh Amendment supplied no right to a jury trial, because fraudulent conveyance actions are equitable in nature, even when a plaintiff seeks only monetary relief; because bankruptcy proceedings themselves are inherently equitable in nature; and because Congress has displaced any right to a jury trial by designating, in 28 U.S.C. § 157(b)(2)(H), fraudulent conveyance actions as "core proceedings" triable by bankruptcy judges sitting without juries.

Held:

1. This Court will not address respondent's contention that the judgment below should be affirmed as to petitioner Granfinanciera because it was a commercial instrumentality of the Colombian Government when it made its request for a jury trial, and was therefore not entitled to such a trial under the Seventh Amendment or applicable statutory provisions. This difficult question was neither raised below nor adequately briefed and argued here, and this is not an "exceptional case" as to which the Court will consider arguments not raised below. Moreover, petitioners' claim is uncontradicted that an affirmance on the ground respondent now urges would enlarge respondent's rights under the judgment below and decrease those of Granfinanciera. Pp. 492 U. S. 38-40.

Page 492 U. S. 34

2. Provided that Congress has not permissibly assigned resolution of the claim to a non-Article III adjudicative body that does not use a jury as factfinder, the Seventh Amendment entitles a person who has not submitted a claim against a bankruptcy estate to a jury trial when sued by the bankruptcy trustee to recover an allegedly fraudulent monetary transfer. Pp. 492 U. S. 40-49.

(a) Since this Court's decisions, early English cases, and scholarly authority all demonstrate that respondent would have had to bring his action at law in 18th-century England, and that a court of equity would not have adjudicated it, it must be concluded preliminarily that the action is a "Sui[t] at common law" for which a jury trial is required by the Seventh Amendment. Pp. 492 U. S. 43-47.

(b) More importantly, the nature of the relief respondent seeks -- the recovery of money payments of ascertained and definite amounts -- conclusively demonstrates that his cause of action should be characterized as legal, rather than equitable, such that petitioners are prima facie entitled to a jury trial under the Amendment. Schoenthal v. Irving Trust Co.,287 U. S. 92. Pp. 492 U. S. 47-49.

3. The Seventh Amendment entitles petitioners to their requested jury trial notwithstanding § 157(b)(2)(H)'s designation of fraudulent conveyance actions as "core proceedings" which non-Article III bankruptcy judges may adjudicate. Pp. 492 U. S. 49-65.

(a) Although the Seventh Amendment does not prohibit Congress from assigning resolution of a statutory claim that is legal in nature to a non-Article III tribunal that does not use a jury as a factfinder so long as the claim asserts a "public right," Congress lacks the power to strip parties who are contesting matters of private right of their constitutional right to a jury trial. See, e.g., Atlas Roofing Co. v. Occupational Safety and Health Review Comm'n,430 U. S. 442; Northern Pipeline Construction Co. v. Marathon Pipe Line Co.,458 U. S. 50. For these purposes, a "public right" is not limited to a matter arising between the Government and others, but extends to a seemingly "private" right that is closely intertwined with a federal regulatory program that Congress has power to enact. Thomas v. Union Carbide Agricultural Products Co.,473 U. S. 568, 473 U. S. 586, 473 U. S. 593-594. Pp. 492 U. S. 51-55.

(b) A bankruptcy trustee's right to recover a fraudulent conveyance is more accurately characterized as a private, rather than a public, right. Although the plurality in Northern Pipeline Construction Co., supra, at 458 U. S. 71, noted that the restructuring of debtor-creditor relations in bankruptcy may well be a "public right," it also emphasized that state law causes of action for breach of contract are paradigmatic private rights, even when asserted by an insolvent corporation in the midst of Chapter 11 reorganization proceedings. Trustees' fraudulent conveyance actions

Page 492 U. S. 35

are quintessentially common law suits that more nearly resemble state law contract claims by a bankrupt corporation to augment the bankruptcy estate than they do creditors' claims to a pro rata share of the bankruptcy res. This analysis is confirmed by Katchen v. Landy,382 U. S. 323, 382 U. S. 327-328, which must be read to hold that a creditor's Seventh Amendment right to a jury trial on a bankruptcy trustee's preference claim depends upon whether the creditor submitted a claim against the estate. Since petitioners here have not filed such claims, respondent's suit is neither part of the claims adjudication process nor integral to the restructuring of debtor-creditor relations. Congress therefore cannot divest petitioners of their Seventh Amendment right merely by relabeling a preexisting, common law cause of action to which that right attaches and assigning it to a specialized court of equity, particularly where there is no evidence that Congress considered the constitutional implications of its designation of all fraudulent conveyance actions as core proceedings. Pp. 492 U. S. 55-61.

(c) Permitting jury trials in fraudulent conveyance actions will not significantly impair the functioning of the legislative scheme. It cannot seriously be argued that allowing such actions in a trustee's suit against a person who has not entered a claim against the estate would "go far to dismantle the statutory scheme," as that phrase was used in Atlas Roofing, supra, at 430 U. S. 454, n. 11, since Atlas plainly assumed that such claims carried with them a right to a jury trial. In addition, it cannot easily be said that a jury would be incompatible with bankruptcy proceedings, since Congress has expressly provided for jury trials in certain other actions arising out of bankruptcy litigation. The claim that juries may serve usefully as checks only on life-tenured judges' decisions overlooks the potential for juries to exercise beneficial restraint on the decisions of fixed-term judges, who may be beholden to Congress or the Executive. Moreover, although providing jury trials in some fraudulent conveyance actions might impede swift resolution of bankruptcy proceedings and increase the expense of Chapter 11 reorganizations, these considerations are insufficient to overcome the Seventh Amendment's clear command. Pp. 492 U. S. 61-63.

835 F.2d 1341, reversed and remanded.

BRENNAN, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which REHNQUIST, C.J., and MARSHALL, STEVENS, and KENNEDY, JJ., joined, and in Parts I, II, III, and V, of which SCALIA, J., joined. SCALIA, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment, post, p. 492 U. S. 65. WHITE, J., filed a dissenting opinion, post, p. 492 U. S. 71. BLACKMUN, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which O'CONNOR, J., joined, post, p. 492 U. S. 91.

Page 492 U. S. 36

JUSTICE BRENNAN delivered the opinion of the Court.

The question presented is whether a person who has not submitted a claim against a bankruptcy estate has a right to a jury trial when sued by the trustee in bankruptcy to recover an allegedly fraudulent monetary transfer. We hold that the Seventh Amendment entitles such a person to a trial by jury, notwithstanding Congress' designation of fraudulent conveyance actions as "core proceedings" in 28 U.S.C. § 157(b)(2)(H) (1982 ed., Supp. V).

I

The Chase & Sanborn Corporation filed a petition for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in 1983. A plan of reorganization approved by the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida vested in respondent Nordberg, the trustee in bankruptcy, causes of action for fraudulent conveyances. App. to Pet. for Cert. 37. In 1985, respondent filed suit against petitioners Granfinanciera, S. A., and Medex, Ltd., in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The complaint alleged that petitioners had received $1.7 million from Chase & Sanborn's corporate predecessor within one year of the date its bankruptcy petition was filed, without receiving consideration or reasonably equivalent value in return. Id. at 39-40. Respondent sought to avoid what it alleged were constructively and actually fraudulent transfers and to recover damages, costs, expenses, and interest under 11 U.S.C. §§ 548(a)(1) and (a)(2), 550(a)(1) (1982 ed. and Supp. V). App. to Pet. for Cert. 41.

The District Court referred the proceedings to the Bankruptcy Court. Over five months later, and shortly before the Colombian Government nationalized Granfinanciera, respondent

Page 492 U. S. 37

served a summons on petitioners in Bogota, Colombia. In their answer to the complaint following Granfinanciera's nationalization, both petitioners requested a "trial by jury on all issues so triable." App. 7. The Bankruptcy Judge denied petitioners' request for a jury trial, deeming a suit to recover a fraudulent transfer "a core action that originally, under the English common law, as I understand it, was a nonjury issue." App. to Pet. for Cert. 34. Following a bench trial, the court dismissed with prejudice respondent's actual fraud claim, but entered judgment for respondent on the constructive fraud claim in the amount of $1,500,000 against Granfinanciera and $180,000 against Medex. Id. at 24-30. The District Court affirmed without discussing petitioners' claim that they were entitled to a jury trial. Id. at 18-23.

The Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit also affirmed. 835 F.2d 1341 (1988). The court found that petitioners lacked a statutory right to a jury trial, because the constructive fraud provision under which suit was brought -- 11 U.S.C. § 548(a)(2) (1982 ed., Supp. V) -- contains no mention of a right to a jury trial, and 28 U.S.C. § 1411 (1982 ed., Supp. V) "affords jury trials only in personal injury or wrongful death suits." 835 F.2d at 1348. The Court of Appeals further ruled that the Seventh Amendment supplied no right to a jury trial, because actions to recover fraudulent conveyances are equitable in nature, even when a plaintiff seeks only monetary relief, id. at 1348-1349, and because "bankruptcy itself is equitable in nature, and thus bankruptcy proceedings are inherently equitable." Id. at 1349. The court read our opinion in Katchen v. Landy,382 U. S. 323 (1966), to say that "Congress may convert a creditor's legal right into an equitable claim and displace any seventh amendment right to trial by jury," and held that Congress had done so by designating fraudulent conveyance actions "core proceedings" triable by bankruptcy judges sitting without juries. 835 F.2d at 1349.

Page 492 U. S. 38

We granted certiorari to decide whether petitioners were entitled to a jury trial, 486 U.S. 1054 (1988), and now reverse.

II

Before considering petitioners' claim to a jury trial, we must confront a preliminary argument. Respondent contends that the judgment below should be affirmed with respect to Granfinanciera -- though not Medex -- because Granfinanciera was a commercial instrumentality of the Colombian Government when it made its request for a jury trial. Respondent argues that the Seventh Amendment preserves only those jury trial rights recognized in England at common law in the late 18th century, and that foreign sovereigns and their instrumentalities were immune from suit at common law. Suits against foreign sovereigns are only possible, respondent asserts, in accordance with the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 (FSIA), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1330, 1602-1611, and respondent reads § 1330(a) [Footnote 1] to prohibit trial by jury of a case against a foreign state. Respondent concludes that Granfinanciera has no right to a jury trial, regardless of the merits of Medex' Seventh Amendment claim.

We decline to address this argument, because respondent failed to raise it below and because the question it poses has not been adequately briefed and argued. Without cross-petitioning for certiorari, a prevailing party may, of course,

"defend its judgment on any ground properly raised below, whether or not that ground was relied upon, rejected, or even considered by the District Court or the Court of Appeals,"

Washington v. Yakima Indian Nation,439 U. S. 463,

Page 492 U. S. 39

476, n. 20 (1979), provided that an affirmance on the alternative ground would neither expand nor contract the rights of either party established by the judgment below. See, e.g., Blum v. Bacon,457 U. S. 132, 457 U. S. 137, n. 5 (1982); United States v. New York Telephone Co.,434 U. S. 159, 434 U. S. 166, n. 8 (1977). Respondent's present defense of the judgment, however, is not one he advanced below. [Footnote 2] Although "we could consider grounds supporting [the] judgment different from those on which the Court of Appeals rested its decision," "where the ground presented here has not been raised below, we exercise this authority only in exceptional cases.'" Heckler v. Campbell,461 U. S. 458, 461 U. S. 468-469, n. 12 (1983), quoting McGoldrick v. Compagnie Generale Transatlantique,309 U. S. 430, 309 U. S. 434 (1940).

This is not such an exceptional case. Not only do we lack guidance from the District Court or the Court of Appeals on this issue, but difficult questions remain whether a jury trial is available to a foreign state upon request under 28 U.S.C. § 1330 and, if not, under what circumstances a business enterprise that has since become an arm of a foreign state may be entitled to a jury trial. Compare Gould, Inc. v. Pechiney

Page 492 U. S. 40

Ugine Kuhlmann, 853 F.2d 445, 450 (CA6 1988) (jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1330 determined by party's status when act complained of occurred); Morgan Guaranty Trust Co. of N.Y. v. Republic of Palau, 639 F.Supp. 706, 712-716 (SDNY 1986) (status at time complaint was filed is decisive for § 1330 jurisdiction), with Callejo v. Bancomer, S. A., 764 F.2d 1101, 1106-1107 (CA5 1985) (FSIA applies even though bank was nationalized after suit was filed); Wolf v. Banco Nacional de Mexico, S. A., 739 F.2d 1458, 1460 (CA9 1984) (same), cert. denied, 469 U.S. 1108 (1985). Moreover, petitioners alleged in their reply brief, without contradiction by respondent at oral argument, that affirmance on the ground that respondent now urges would "unquestionably enlarge the respondent's rights under the circuit court's decision and concomitantly decrease those of the petitioner" by "open[ing] up new areas of discovery in aid of execution" and by allowing respondent, for the first time, to recover any judgment he wins against Granfinanciera from Colombia's central banking institutions, and possibly those of other Colombian governmental instrumentalities. Reply Brief for Petitioners 19. Whatever the merits of these claims, their plausibility, coupled with respondent's failure to offer rebuttal, furnishes an additional reason not to consider respondent's novel argument in support of the judgment at this late stage in the litigation. We therefore leave for another day the questions respondent's argument raises under the FSIA.

III

Petitioners rest their claim to a jury trial on the Seventh Amendment alone. [Footnote 3] The Seventh Amendment provides: "In

Page 492 U. S. 41

Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved. . . ."

We have consistently interpreted the phrase "Suits at common law" to refer to

"suits in which legal rights were to be ascertained and determined, in contradistinction to those where equitable rights alone were recognized, and equitable remedies were administered."

Parsons v. Bedford, 3 Pet. 433, 28 U. S. 447 (1830). Although "the thrust of the

Page 492 U. S. 42

Amendment was to preserve the right to jury trial as it existed in 1791," the Seventh Amendment also applies to actions brought to enforce statutory rights that are analogous to common law causes of action ordinarily decided in English law courts in the late 18th century, as opposed to those customarily heard by courts of equity or admiralty. Curtis v. Loether,415 U. S. 189, 415 U. S. 193 (1974).

The form of our analysis is familiar.

"First, we compare the statutory action to 18th-century actions brought in the courts of England prior to the merger of the courts of law and equity. Second, we examine the remedy sought and determine whether it is legal or equitable in nature."

Tull v. United States,481 U. S. 412, 481 U. S. 417-418 (1987) (citations omitted). The second stage of this analysis is more important than the first. Id. at 481 U. S. 421. If, on balance, these two factors indicate that a party is entitled to a jury trial under the Seventh Amendment, we must decide whether Congress may assign and has assigned resolution of the relevant claim to a non-Article III adjudicative body that does not use a jury as factfinder. [Footnote 4]

Page 492 U. S. 43

A

There is no dispute that actions to recover preferential or fraudulent transfers were often brought at law in late 18th-century England. As we noted in Schoenthal v. Irving Trust Co.,287 U. S. 92, 287 U. S. 94 (1932) (footnote omitted):

"In England, long prior to the enactment of our first Judiciary Act, common law actions of trover and money had and received were resorted to for the recovery of preferential payments by bankrupts."

See, e.g., Smith v. Payne, 6 T.R. 152, 101 Eng.Rep. 484 (K.B. 1795) (trover); Barnes v. Freeland, 6 T.R. 80, 101 Eng.Rep. 447 (K.B. 1794) (trover); Smith v. Hodson, 4 T.R. 211, 100 Eng.Rep. 979 (K.B. 1791) (assumpsit; goods sold and delivered); Vernon v. Hanson, 2 T.R. 287, 100 Eng.Rep. 156 (K.B. 1788) (assumpsit; money had and received); Thompson v. Freeman, 1 T.R. 155, 99 Eng.Rep. 1026 (K.B. 1786) (trover); Rust v. Cooper, 2 Cowp. 629, 98 Eng.Rep. 1277 (K.B. 1777) (trover); Harman v. Fishar, 1 Cowp. 117, 98 Eng.Rep. 998 (K.B. 1774) (trover); Martin v. Pewtress, 4 Burr. 2477, 98 Eng.Rep. 299 (K.B. 1769) (trover); Alderson v. Temple, 4 Burr. 2235, 98 Eng.Rep. 165 (K.B. 1768) (trover). These actions, like all suits at law, were conducted before juries.

Respondent does not challenge this proposition or even contend that actions to recover fraudulent conveyances or preferential transfers were more than occasionally tried in courts of equity. He asserts only that courts of equity had concurrent jurisdiction with courts of law over fraudulent conveyance actions. Brief for Respondent 37-38. While respondent's assertion that courts of equity sometimes provided relief in fraudulent conveyance actions is true, however, it hardly suffices to undermine petitioners' submission that the present action for monetary relief would not have sounded in equity 200 years ago in England. In Parsons v. Bedford, supra, at 28 U. S. 447 (emphasis added), we contrasted suits at law with "those where equitable rights alone were recognized" in holding that the Seventh Amendment right to a jury

Page 492 U. S. 44

trial applies to all but the latter actions. Respondent adduces no authority to buttress the claim that suits to recover an allegedly fraudulent transfer of money, of the sort that he has brought, were typically, or indeed ever, entertained by English courts of equity when the Seventh Amendment was adopted. In fact, prior decisions of this Court, see, e.g., Buzard v. Houston,119 U. S. 347, 119 U. S. 352-353 (1886), and scholarly authority compel the contrary conclusion:

"[W]hether the trustee's suit should be at law or in equity is to be judged by the same standards that are applied to any other owner of property which is wrongfully withheld. If the subject matter is a chattel, and is still in the grantee's possession, an action in trover or replevin would be the trustee's remedy; and if the fraudulent transfer was of cash, the trustee's action would be for money had and received. Such actions at law are as available to the trustee today as they were in the English courts of long ago. If, on the other hand, the subject matter is land or an intangible, or the trustee needs equitable aid for an accounting or the like, he may invoke the equitable process, and that also is beyond dispute."

1 G. Glenn, Fraudulent Conveyances and Preferences § 98, pp. 183-184 (rev. ed. 1940).

The two cases respondent discusses confirm this account of English practice. Ex parte Scudamore, 3 Ves. jun. 85, 30 Eng.Rep. 907 (Ch. 1796), involved the debtor's assignment of his share of a law partnership's receivables to repay a debt shortly before the debtor was declared bankrupt. Other creditors petitioned chancery for an order directing the debtor's law partner to hand over for general distribution among creditors the debtor's current and future shares of the partnership's receivables, which he held in trust for the assignee. The Chancellor refused to do so, finding the proposal inequitable. Instead, he directed the creditors to bring an action at law against the assignee if they thought themselves entitled

Page 492 U. S. 45

to relief. Although this case demonstrates that fraudulent conveyance actions could be brought in equity, it does not show that suits to recover a definite sum of money would be decided by a court of equity when a petitioner did not seek distinctively equitable remedies. The creditors in Ex parte Scudamore asked the Chancellor to provide injunctive relief by ordering the debtor's former law partner to convey to them the debtor's share of the partnership's receivables that came into his possession in the future, along with receivables he then held in trust for the debtor. To the extent that they asked the court to order relinquishment of a specific preferential transfer, rather than ongoing equitable relief, the Chancellor dismissed their suit and noted that the proper means of recovery would be an action at law against the transferee. Respondent's own cause of action is of precisely that sort.

Hobbs v. Hull, 1 Cox 445, 29 Eng.Rep. 1242 (Ch.1788), also fails to advance respondent's case. The assignees in bankruptcy there sued to set aside an alleged fraudulent conveyance of real estate in trust by a husband to his wife, in return for her relinquishment of a cause of action in divorce upon discovering his adultery. The court dismissed the suit, finding that the transfer was not fraudulent, and allowed the assignees to bring an ejectment or other legal action in the law courts. The salient point is that the bankruptcy assignees sought the traditional equitable remedy of setting aside a conveyance of land in trust, rather than the recovery of money or goods, and that the court refused to decide their legal claim to ejectment once it had ruled that no equitable remedy would lie. The court's sweeping statement that

"Courts of Equity have most certainly been in the habit of exercising a concurrent jurisdiction with the Courts of Law on the statutes of Elizabeth respecting fraudulent conveyances,"

id. at 445-446, 30 Eng.Rep., at 1242, is not supported by reference to any cases that sought the recovery of a fixed sum of money without the need for an accounting or

Page 492 U. S. 46

other equitable relief. Nor has respondent repaired this deficit. [Footnote 5] We therefore conclude that respondent would have had to bring his action to recover an alleged fraudulent conveyance

Page 492 U. S. 47

of a determinate sum of money at law in 18th-century England, and that a court of equity would not have adjudicated it. [Footnote 6]

B

The nature of the relief respondent seeks strongly supports our preliminary finding that the right he invokes should be denominated legal, rather than equitable. Our decisions establish beyond peradventure that,

"[i]n cases of fraud or mistake, as under any other head of chancery jurisdiction, a court of the United States will not sustain a bill in equity to obtain only a decree for the payment of money by way of

Page 492 U. S. 48

damages, when the like amount can be recovered at law in an action sounding in tort or for money had and received."

Buzard v. Houston, 119 U.S. at 119 U. S. 352, citing Parkersburg v. Brown,106 U. S. 487, 106 U. S. 500 (1883); Ambler v. Choteau,107 U. S. 586 (1883); Litchfield v. Ballou,114 U. S. 190 (1885). See also Atlas Roofing Co. v. Occupational Safety and Health Review Comm'n,430 U. S. 442, 430 U. S. 454, n. 11 (1977) ("the otherwise legal issues of voidable preferences"); Pernell v. Southall Realty,416 U. S. 363, 416 U. S. 370 (1974) ("'[W]here an action is simply for the recovery . . . of a money judgment, the action is one at law"'), quoting Whitehead v. Shattuck,138 U. S. 146, 138 U. S. 151 (1891); Dairy Queen, Inc. v. Wood,369 U. S. 469, 369 U. S. 476 (1962) ("Petitioner's contention . . . is that insofar as the complaint requests a money judgment it presents a claim which is unquestionably legal. We agree with that contention"); Gaines v. Miller,111 U. S. 395, 111 U. S. 397-398 (1884) ("Whenever one person has in his hands money equitably belonging to another, that other person may recover it by assumpsit for money had and received. The remedy at law is adequate and complete") (citations omitted).

Indeed, in our view, Schoenthal v. Irving Trust Co.,287 U. S. 92 (1932), removes all doubt that respondent's cause of action should be characterized as legal, rather than as equitable. In Schoenthal, the trustee in bankruptcy sued in equity to recover alleged preferential payments, claiming that it had no adequate remedy at law. As in this case, the recipients of the payments apparently did not file claims against the bankruptcy estate. The Court held that the suit had to proceed at law instead, because the long-settled rule that suits in equity will not be sustained where a complete remedy exists at law, then codified at 28 U.S.C. § 384, "serves to guard the right of trial by jury preserved by the Seventh Amendment, and to that end it should be liberally construed." 287 U.S. at 287 U. S. 94. The Court found that the trustee's suit -- indistinguishable from respondent's suit in all relevant respects -- could not go forward in equity because an adequate remedy

Page 492 U. S. 49

was available at law. There, as here, "[t]he preferences sued for were money payments of ascertained and definite amounts," and "[t]he bill discloses no facts that call for an accounting or other equitable relief." Id. at 287 U. S. 95. Respondent's fraudulent conveyance action plainly seeks relief traditionally provided by law courts or on the law side of courts having both legal and equitable dockets. [Footnote 7] Unless Congress may and has permissibly withdrawn jurisdiction over that action by courts of law and assigned it exclusively to non-Article III tribunals sitting without juries, the Seventh Amendment guarantees petitioners a jury trial upon request.

IV

Prior to passage of the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978, Pub.L. 95-598, 92 Stat. 2549 (1978 Act), "[s]uits to recover preferences constitute[d] no part of the proceedings in bankruptcy."

Page 492 U. S. 50

Schoenthal v. Irving Trust Co., supra, at 287 U. S. 94-95. Although related to bankruptcy proceedings, fraudulent conveyance and preference actions brought by a trustee in bankruptcy were deemed separate, plenary suits to which the Seventh Amendment applied. While the 1978 Act brought those actions within the jurisdiction of the bankruptcy courts, it preserved parties' rights to trial by jury as they existed prior to the effective date of the 1978 Act. 28 U.S.C. § 1480(a) (repealed). The 1984 Amendments, however, designated fraudulent conveyance actions "core proceedings," 28 U.S.C. § 157(b)(2)(H) (1982 ed., Supp. V), which bankruptcy judges may adjudicate and in which they may issue final judgments,§ 157(b)(1), if a district court has referred the matter to them, § 157(a). We are not obliged to decide today whether bankruptcy courts may conduct jury trials in fraudulent conveyance suits brought by a trustee against a person who has not entered a claim against the estate, either in the rare procedural posture of this case, see supra at 492 U. S. 41, n. 3, or under the current statutory scheme, see 28 U.S.C. § 1411 (1982 ed., Supp. V). Nor need we decide whether, if Congress has authorized bankruptcy courts to hold jury trials in such actions, that authorization comports with Article III when non-Article III judges preside over the actions subject to review in, or withdrawal by, the district courts. We also need not consider whether jury trials conducted by a bankruptcy court would satisfy the Seventh Amendment's command that

"no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law,"

given that district courts may presently set aside clearly erroneous factual findings by bankruptcy courts. Bkrtcy.Rule 8013. The sole issue before us is whether the Seventh Amendment confers on petitioners a right to a jury trial in the face of Congress' decision to allow a non-Article III tribunal to adjudicate the claims against them.

Page 492 U. S. 51

A

In Atlas Roofing, we noted that,

"when Congress creates new statutory 'public rights,' it may assign their adjudication to an administrative agency with which a jury trial would be incompatible, without violating the Seventh Amendment's injunction that jury trial is to be 'preserved' in 'suits at common law.'"

430 U.S. at 430 U. S. 455 (footnote omitted). We emphasized, however, that Congress' power to block application of the Seventh Amendment to a cause of action has limits. Congress may only deny trials by jury in actions at law, we said, in cases where "public rights" are litigated:

"Our prior cases support administrative factfinding in only those situations involving 'public rights,' e.g., where the Government is involved in its sovereign capacity under an otherwise valid statute creating enforceable public rights. Wholly private tort, contract, and property cases, as well as a vast range of other cases, are not at all implicated."

Id. at 430 U. S. 458. [Footnote 8]

We adhere to that general teaching. As we said in Atlas Roofing:

"'On the common law side of the federal courts, the aid of juries is not only deemed appropriate but is required by the Constitution itself.'"

Id. at 430 U. S. 450, n. 7, quoting Crowell v. Benson,285 U. S. 22, 285 U. S. 51 (1932). Congress may devise novel causes of action involving public rights free from the strictures of the Seventh Amendment if it assigns their adjudication to tribunals without statutory authority to employ juries as factfinders. [Footnote 9] But it lacks the power to strip parties

Page 492 U. S. 52

contesting matters of private right of their constitutional right to a trial by jury. As we recognized in Atlas Roofing, to hold otherwise would be to permit Congress to eviscerate the Seventh Amendment's guarantee by assigning to administrative agencies or courts of equity all causes of action not grounded in state law, whether they originate in a newly fashioned regulatory scheme or possess a long line of common law forebears. 430 U.S. at 430 U. S. 457-458. The Constitution nowhere grants Congress such puissant authority. "[L]egal claims are not magically converted into equitable issues by their presentation to a court of equity," Ross v. Bernhard,396 U. S. 531, 396 U. S. 538 (1970), nor can Congress conjure away the Seventh Amendment by mandating that traditional legal claims be brought there or taken to an administrative tribunal.

In certain situations, of course, Congress may fashion causes of action that are closely analogous to common law claims and place them beyond the ambit of the Seventh Amendment by assigning their resolution to a forum in which jury trials are unavailable. See, e.g., Atlas Roofing, supra, at 430 U. S. 450-461 (workplace safety regulations); Block v. Hirsh,256 U. S. 135, 256 U. S. 158 (1921) (temporary emergency regulation of rental real estate). See also Pernell v. Southall Realty, 416 U.S. at 416 U. S. 382-383 (discussing cases); Murray's Lessee v. Hoboken Land and Improvement Co., 18 How. 272, 59 U. S. 284 (1856) (Congress "may or may not bring within the cognizance of the courts of the United States, as it may deem proper," matters involving public rights). Congress' power to do so is limited, however, just as its power to place adjudicative authority in non-Article III tribunals is circumscribed. See Thomas v.

Page 492 U. S. 53

Union Carbide Agricultural Products Co.,473 U. S. 568, 473 U. S. 589, 473 U. S. 593-594 (1985); id. at 473 U. S. 598-600 (BRENNAN, J., concurring in judgment); Northern Pipeline Construction Co. v. Marathon Pipe Line Co.,458 U. S. 50, 458 U. S. 73-76 (1982) (opinion of BRENNAN, J.); id. at 458 U. S. 91 (REHNQUIST, J., concurring in judgment). Unless a legal cause of action involves "public rights," Congress may not deprive parties litigating over such a right of the Seventh Amendment's guarantee to a jury trial.

In Atlas Roofing, supra, at 430 U. S. 458, we noted that Congress may effectively supplant a common law cause of action carrying with it a right to a jury trial with a statutory cause of action shorn of a jury trial right if that statutory cause of action inheres, in or lies against, the Federal Government in its sovereign capacity. Our case law makes plain, however, that the class of "public rights" whose adjudication Congress may assign to administrative agencies or courts of equity sitting without juries is more expansive than Atlas Roofing's discussion suggests. Indeed, our decisions point to the conclusion that, if a statutory cause of action is legal in nature, the question whether the Seventh Amendment permits Congress to assign its adjudication to a tribunal that does not employ juries as factfinders requires the same answer as the question whether Article III allows Congress to assign adjudication of that cause of action to a non-Article III tribunal: For if a statutory cause of action, such as respondent's right to recover a fraudulent conveyance under 11 U.S.C. § 548(a)(2), is not a "public right" for Article III purposes, then Congress may not assign its adjudication to a specialized non-Article III court lacking "the essential attributes of the judicial power." Crowell v. Benson, supra, at 285 U. S. 51. And if the action must be tried under the auspices of an Article III court, then the Seventh Amendment affords the parties a right to a jury trial whenever the cause of action is legal in nature. Conversely, if Congress may assign the adjudication of a statutory cause of action to a non-Article III tribunal, then the

Page 492 U. S. 54

Seventh Amendment poses no independent bar to the adjudication of that action by a nonjury factfinder. See, e.g., Atlas Roofing, supra, at 458 U. S. 453-455, 458 U. S. 460; Pernell v. Southall Realty, supra, at 416 U. S. 383; Block v. Hirsh, supra, at 256 U. S. 158. In addition to our Seventh Amendment precedents, we therefore rely on our decisions exploring the restrictions Article III places on Congress' choice of adjudicative bodies to resolve disputes over statutory rights to determine whether petitioners are entitled to a jury trial.

In our most recent discussion of the "public rights" doctrine as it bears on Congress' power to commit adjudication of a statutory cause of action to a non-Article III tribunal, we rejected the view that "a matter of public rights must at a minimum arise between the government and others.'" Northern Pipeline Construction Co., supra, at 458 U. S. 69 (opinion of BRENNAN, J.), quoting Ex parte Bakelite Corp.,279 U. S. 438, 279 U. S. 451 (1929). We held, instead, that the Federal Government need not be a party for a case to revolve around "public rights." Thomas v. Union Carbide Agricultural Products Co., 473 U.S. at 473 U. S. 586; id. at 473 U. S. 596-599 (BRENNAN, J., concurring in judgment). The crucial question, in cases not involving the Federal Government, is whether

"Congress, acting for a valid legislative purpose pursuant to its constitutional powers under Article I, [has] create[d] a seemingly 'private' right that is so closely integrated into a public regulatory scheme as to be a matter appropriate for agency resolution with limited involvement by the Article III judiciary."

Id. at 473 U. S. 593-594. See id. at 473 U. S. 600 (BRENNAN, J., concurring in judgment) (challenged provision involves public rights because "the dispute arises in the context of a federal regulatory scheme that virtually occupies the field"). If a statutory right is not closely intertwined with a federal regulatory program Congress has power to enact, and if that right neither belongs to nor exists against the Federal Government,

Page 492 U. S. 55

then it must be adjudicated by an Article III court. [Footnote 10] If the right is legal in nature, then it carries with it the Seventh Amendment's guarantee of a jury trial.

B

Although the issue admits of some debate, a bankruptcy trustee's right to recover a fraudulent conveyance under 11 U.S.C. § 548(a)(2) seems to us more accurately characterized as a private, rather than a public, right as we have used those terms in our Article III decisions. In Northern Pipeline Construction Co., 458 U.S. at 458 U. S. 71, the plurality noted

Page 492 U. S. 56

that the restructuring of debtor-creditor relations in bankruptcy "may well be a public right.'" [Footnote 11] But the plurality also emphasized that state law causes of action for breach of contract or warranty are paradigmatic private rights, even when asserted by an insolvent corporation in the midst of Chapter 11 reorganization proceedings. The plurality further said that "matters from their nature subject to `a suit at common law or in equity or admiralty'" lie at the "protected core" of Article III judicial power, id. at 458 U. S. 71, n. 25; see id. at 458 U. S. 90 (REHNQUIST, J., concurring in judgment) -- a point we reaffirmed in Thomas, supra, at 473 U. S. 587. There can be little doubt that fraudulent conveyance actions by bankruptcy trustees -- suits which, we said in Schoenthal v. Irving Trust Co., 287 U.S. at 287 U. S. 94-95 (citation omitted), "constitute no part of the proceedings in bankruptcy, but concern controversies arising out of it" -- are quintessentially suits at common law that more nearly resemble state law contract claims brought by a bankrupt corporation to augment the bankruptcy estate than they do creditors' hierarchically ordered claims to a pro rata share of the bankruptcy res.See Gibson 1022-1025. They therefore appear matters of private, rather than public, right. [Footnote 12]

Page 492 U. S. 57

Our decision in Katchen v. Landy,382 U. S. 323 (1966), under the Seventh Amendment, rather than Article III, confirms this analysis. Petitioner, an officer of a bankrupt corporation, made payments from corporate funds within four months of bankruptcy on corporate notes on which he was an accommodation maker. When petitioner later filed claims against the bankruptcy estate, the trustee counterclaimed, arguing that the payments petitioner made constituted voidable preferences because they reduced his potential personal liability on the notes. We held that the bankruptcy court had jurisdiction to order petitioner to surrender the preferences, and that it could rule on the trustee's claim without according petitioner a jury trial. Our holding did not depend, however, on the fact that "[bankruptcy] courts are essentially courts of equity" because "they characteristically proceed in summary fashion to deal with the assets of the bankrupt they are administering." Id. at 382 U. S. 327. Notwithstanding the fact that bankruptcy courts "characteristically" supervised summary proceedings, they were statutorily invested with jurisdiction at law as well, and could also oversee plenary proceedings. See Atlas Roofing, 430 U.S. at 430 U. S. 454, n. 11 (Katchen rested "on the ground that a bankruptcy court, exercising its summary jurisdiction, was a specialized court of equity") (emphasis added); Pepper v. Litton,308 U. S. 295, 308 U. S. 304 (1939) ("[F]or many purposes,courts of bankruptcy are essentially courts of equity'") (emphasis added). Our decision turned, rather, on the bankruptcy court's having "actual or constructive possession" of the bankruptcy estate, 382 U.S. at 382 U. S. 327, and its power and obligation to consider objections by the trustee in deciding whether to allow claims against the estate. Id. at 382 U. S. 329-331. Citing Schoenthal v. Irving Trust Co., supra, approvingly, we expressly stated that, if petitioner had not submitted a claim to the bankruptcy court, the trustee could have recovered the preference only by a plenary action, and that petitioner would have

Page 492 U. S. 58

been entitled to a jury trial if the trustee had brought a plenary action in federal court. See 382 U.S. at 382 U. S. 327-328. We could not have made plainer that our holding in Schoenthal retained its vitality:

"[A]lthough petitioner might be entitled to a jury trial on the issue of preference if he presented no claim in the bankruptcy proceeding and awaited a federal plenary action by the trustee, Schoenthal v. Irving Trust Co.,287 U. S. 92, when the same issue arises as part of the process of allowance and disallowance of claims, it is triable in equity."

Id. at 382 U. S. 336. [Footnote 13]

Unlike JUSTICE WHITE, see post at 492 U. S. 72-75, 492 U. S. 78, we do not view the Court's conclusion in Katchen as resting on an accident of statutory history. We read Schoenthal and Katchen as holding that, under the Seventh Amendment, a creditor's right to a jury trial on a bankruptcy trustee's preference claim depends upon whether the creditor has submitted a claim against the estate, not upon Congress' precise definition of the "bankruptcy estate" or upon whether Congress chanced to deny jury trials to creditors who have not filed claims and who are sued by a trustee to recover an alleged preference. Because petitioners here, like the petitioner in Schoenthal, have not filed claims against the estate, respondent's fraudulent conveyance action does not arise "as part of the process of allowance and disallowance of claims." Nor is that action integral to the restructuring of debtor-creditor relations. Congress therefore cannot divest petitioners of

Page 492 U. S. 59

their Seventh Amendment right to a trial by jury. Katchen thus supports the result we reach today; it certainly does not compel its opposite. [Footnote 14]

Page 492 U. S. 60

The 1978 Act abolished the statutory distinction between plenary and summary bankruptcy proceedings, on which the Court relied in Schoenthal and Katchen. Although the 1978 Act preserved parties' rights to jury trials as they existed prior to the day it took effect, 28 U.S.C. § 1480(a) (repealed), in the 1984 Amendments, Congress drew a new distinction between "core" and "non-core" proceedings, and classified fraudulent conveyance actions as core proceedings triable by bankruptcy judges. 28 U.S.C. § 157(b)(2)(H) (1982 ed., Supp. V). Whether 28 U.S.C. § 1411 (1982 ed., Supp. V) purports to abolish jury trial rights in what were formerly plenary actions is unclear, and at any rate is not a question we need decide here. See supra at 492 U. S. 40-41, n. 3. The decisive point is that in neither the 1978 Act nor the 1984 Amendments did Congress "creat[e] a new cause of action, and remedies therefor, unknown to the common law," because traditional rights and remedies were inadequate to cope with a manifest public problem. Atlas Roofing, 430 U.S. at 430 U. S. 461. Rather, Congress simply reclassified a preexisting, common law cause of action that was not integrally related to the reformation of debtor-creditor relations [Footnote 15] and

Page 492 U. S. 61

that apparently did not suffer from any grave deficiencies. This purely taxonomic change cannot alter our Seventh Amendment analysis. Congress cannot eliminate a party's Seventh Amendment right to a jury trial merely by relabeling the cause of action to which it attaches and placing exclusive jurisdiction in an administrative agency or a specialized court of equity. See Gibson 1022-1025.

Nor can Congress' assignment be justified on the ground that jury trials of fraudulent conveyance actions would "go far to dismantle the statutory scheme," Atlas Roofing, 430 U.S. at 430 U. S. 454, n. 11, or that bankruptcy proceedings have been placed in "an administrative forum with which the jury would be incompatible." Id. at 430 U. S. 450. To be sure, we owe some deference to Congress' judgment after it has given careful consideration to the constitutionality of a legislative provision. See Northern Pipeline Construction Co., 458 U.S. at 458 U. S. 61 (opinion of BRENNAN, J.). But respondent has adduced no evidence that Congress considered the constitutional implications of its designation of all fraudulent conveyance actions as core proceedings. Nor can it seriously be argued that permitting jury trials in fraudulent conveyance actions brought by a trustee against a person who has not entered a claim against the estate would "go far to dismantle the statutory scheme," as we used that phrase in Atlas Roofing, when our opinion in that case, following Schoenthal, plainly assumed that such claims carried with them a right to a jury trial. [Footnote 16] In addition, one cannot easily say that "the

Page 492 U. S. 62

jury would be incompatible" with bankruptcy proceedings, in view of Congress' express provision for jury trials in certain actions arising out of bankruptcy litigation. See 28 U.S.C. § 1411 (1982 ed., Supp. V); Gibson 1024-1025; Warner, Katchen Up in Bankruptcy: The New Jury Trial Right, 63 Am.Bankr.L.J. 1, 48 (1989) (hereinafter Warner). And JUSTICE WHITE'S claim that juries may serve usefully as checks only on the decisions of judges who enjoy life tenure, see

Page 492 U. S. 63

post at 492 U. S. 82-83, overlooks the extent to which judges who are appointed for fixed terms may be beholden to Congress or Executive officials, and thus ignores the potential for juries to exercise beneficial restraint on their decisions.

It may be that providing jury trials in some fraudulent conveyance actions -- if not in this particular case, because respondent's suit was commenced after the Bankruptcy Court approved the debtor's plan of reorganization -- would impede swift resolution of bankruptcy proceedings and increase the expense of Chapter 11 reorganizations. [Footnote 17] But "these considerations are insufficient to overcome the clear command of the Seventh Amendment." Curtis v. Loether, 415 U.S. at 415 U. S. 198. See also Bowsher v. Synar,478 U. S. 714, 478 U. S. 736 (1986) ("[T]he fact that a given law or procedure is efficient, convenient, and useful in facilitating functions of government, standing alone, will not save it if it is contrary to the Constitution'"), quoting INS v. Chadha,462 U. S. 919, 462 U. S. 944 (1983); Pernell v. Southall Realty, 416 U.S. at 416 U. S. 383-384 (discounting arguments that jury trials would be unduly burdensome, and rejecting "the notion that there is some necessary

Page 492 U. S. 64

inconsistency between the desire for speedy justice and the right to jury trial"). [Footnote 18]

We do not decide today whether the current jury trial provision -- 28 U.S.C. § 1411 (1982 ed., Supp. V) -- permits bankruptcy courts to conduct jury trials in fraudulent conveyance actions like the one respondent initiated. Nor do we express any view as to whether the Seventh Amendment or Article III allows jury trials in such actions to be held before non-Article III bankruptcy judges subject to the oversight provided by the district courts pursuant to the 1984 Amendments. We leave those issues for future decisions. [Footnote 19] We do hold, however, that whatever the answers to these questions, the Seventh Amendment entitles petitioners to the jury trial they requested. Accordingly, the judgment of

Page 492 U. S. 65

the Court of Appeals is reversed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

It is so ordered.

[Footnote 1]

Section 1330(a) provides:

"The district courts shall have original jurisdiction without regard to amount in controversy of any nonjury civil action against a foreign state as defined in section 1603(a) of this title as to any claim for relief in personam with respect to which the foreign state is not entitled to immunity either under sections 1605-1607 of this title or under any applicable international agreement."

(Emphasis added.)

[Footnote 2]

Indeed, respondent strenuously supported the Court of Appeals' conclusion, which echoed that of the District Court, see App. to Pet. for Cert. 22, that the "FSIA is inapplicable to the case at bar," 835 F.2d 1341, 1347 (CA11 1988), not only on the court's rationale that "the transfers in question and the suit to recover those transfers occurred before Granfinanciera was nationalized," ibid., but on the more sweeping rationale that Granfinanciera never proved that it was an instrumentality of a foreign state, because it had never really been nationalized. See Brief for Appellee in No. 86-5738 (CA11), pp. 21-30; Brief for Appellee in No. 86-1292 (SD Fla.), pp. 32-36. Admittedly, respondent's present position that the FSIA does not confer immunity on Granfinanciera because it was not an instrumentality of a foreign state when the alleged wrongs occurred or when respondent filed suit is not necessarily incompatible with its claim that Granfinanciera cannot qualify for a jury trial under the FSIA because it requested a jury trial after it was nationalized. Respondent has not attempted, however, to reconcile these views, and did not make the second claim until he filed his merits brief in this Court.

[Footnote 3]

The current statutory provision for jury trials in bankruptcy proceedings -- 28 U.S.C. § 1411 (1982 ed., Supp. V), enacted as part of the Bankruptcy Amendments and Federal Judgeship Act of 1984 (1984 Amendments), Pub. L. 98-353, 98 Stat. 333 -- is notoriously ambiguous. Section 1411(a) provides:

"[T]his chapter and title 11 do not affect any right to trial by jury that an individual has under applicable nonbankruptcy law with regard to a personal injury or wrongful death tort claim."

Although this section might suggest that jury trials are available only in personal injury and wrongful death actions, that conclusion is debatable. Section 1411(b) provides that "[t]he district court may order the issues arising [in connection with involuntary bankruptcy petitions] to be tried without a jury," suggesting that the court lacks similar discretion to deny jury trials on at least some issues presented in connection with voluntary petitions. The confused legislative history of these provisions has further puzzled commentators. See, e.g., Gibson, Jury Trials in Bankruptcy: Obeying the Commands of Article III and the Seventh Amendment, 72 Minn.L.Rev. 967, 989-996 (1988) (hereinafter Gibson); Note, The Bankruptcy Amendments and Federal Judgeship Act of 1984: The Impact on the Right of Jury Trial in Bankruptcy Court, 16 Tex.Tech.L.Rev. 535, 543-546 (1985). Whatever the proper construction of § 1411, petitioners concede that this section does not entitle them to a jury trial. Section 122(b) of the 1984 Amendments, 98 Stat. 346, bars application of § 1411 to

"cases under title 11 of the United States Code that are pending on the date of enactment of this Act or to proceedings arising in or related to such cases,"

and Chase & Sanborn's petition for reorganization was pending on that date. Nor does § 1411's predecessor -- 28 U.S.C. § 1480(a), which stated that

"this chapter and title 11 do not affect any right to trial by jury, in a case under title 11 or in a proceeding arising under title 11 or arising in or related to a case under title 11, that is provided by any statute in effect on September 30, 1979"

-- seem to afford petitioners a statutory basis for their claim. As they recognize, § 1480 was apparently repealed by the 1984 Amendments. See Gibson 989, and n. 96; King, Jurisdiction and Procedure Under the Bankruptcy Amendments of 1984, 38 Vand.L.Rev. 675, 703, and n. 79 (1985); Brief for Respondent 5, n. 11. Petitioners therefore appear correct in concluding that,

"absent any specific legislation in force providing jury trials for cases filed before July 10, 1984, but tried afterwards, [their] right to jury trial in this proceeding must necessarily be predicated entirely on the Seventh Amendment."

Brief for Petitioners 33, n. 7. See also Brief for Respondent 10, and n. 15.

[Footnote 4]

This quite distinct inquiry into whether Congress has permissibly entrusted the resolution of certain disputes to an administrative agency or specialized court of equity, and whether jury trials would impair the functioning of the legislative scheme, appears to be what the Court contemplated when, in Ross v. Bernhard,396 U. S. 531, 396 U. S. 538, n. 10 (1970), it identified "the practical abilities and limitations of juries" as an additional factor to be consulted in determining whether the Seventh Amendment confers a jury trial right. See Tull v. United States, 481 U.S. at 481 U. S. 418, n. 4; Atlas Roofing Co. v. Occupational Safety and Health Review Comm'n,430 U. S. 442, 430 U. S. 454-455 (1977). We consider this issue in 484 U. S. infra. Contrary to JUSTICE WHITE's contention, see post at 484 U. S. 79-80, we do not declare that the Seventh Amendment provides a right to a jury trial on all legal, rather than equitable, claims. If a claim that is legal in nature asserts a "public right," as we define that term in 484 U. S. then the Seventh Amendment does not entitle the parties to a jury trial if Congress assigns its adjudication to an administrative agency or specialized court of equity. See infra at 484 U. S. 51-53. The Seventh Amendment protects a litigant's right to a jury trial only if a cause of action is legal in nature and it involves a matter of "private right."

[Footnote 5]

Rather than list 18th-century English cases to support the contention that fraudulent monetary transfers were traditionally cognizable in equity, respondent cites three recent cases from the Courts of Appeals. These cases, however, weaken, rather than bolster, respondent's argument. In re Graham, 747 F.2d 1383 (CA11 1984), held that there was no Seventh Amendment jury trial right in a suit for the equitable remedy of setting aside an alleged fraudulent conveyance of real estate by a bankrupt. With respect to suits like respondent's, the court expressly noted that "an action by a creditor or trustee-in-bankruptcy seeking money damages is an action at law." Id. at 1387 (citations omitted). Damsky v. Zavatt, 289 F.2d 46 (CA2 1961), also involved a conveyance of real estate. And there, too, the court acknowledged that jury trials are ordinarily available with respect to monetary claims. See id. at 54.

Both of these holdings are questionable, moreover, to the extent that they are in tension with our decision in Whitehead v. Shattuck,138 U. S. 146 (1891). Although there is scholarly support for the claim that actions to recover real property are quintessentially equitable actions, see 1 G. Glenn, Fraudulent Conveyances and Preferences § 98, pp. 183-184 (rev. ed. 1940), in Whitehead we stated:

"[W]here an action is simply for the recovery and possession of specific real or personal property, or for the recovery of a money judgment, the action is one at law. An action for the recovery of real property, including damages for withholding it, has always been of that class. The right which in this case the plaintiff wishes to assert is his title to certain real property; the remedy which he wishes to obtain is its possession and enjoyment; and in a contest over the title, both parties have a constitutional right to call for a jury."

138 U.S. at 138 U. S. 151. See also Pernell v. Southall Realty,416 U. S. 363, 416 U. S. 370-374 (1974).

Finally, respondent misreads In re Harbour, 840 F.2d 1165, 1172-1173 (CA4 1988). The Fourth Circuit relied in that case on the same authorities to which we have referred, distinguishing between suits to recover fraudulent transfers and other bankruptcy proceedings. The court's holding that the Seventh Amendment right to a jury trial no longer extends to such actions was based not on its historical analysis, which accords with our own, but on its erroneous belief that Congress possesses the power to assign jurisdiction over all fraudulent conveyance actions to bankruptcy courts sitting without juries. The case therefore lends no support to respondent's historical argument.

[Footnote 6]

Citing several authorities, JUSTICE WHITE contends that "[o]ther scholars have looked at the same history and come to a different conclusion." Post at 484 U. S. 85, and n. 7. This assertion, however, lacks the support it claims. With the exception of Justice Gray's opinion in Drake v. Rice, 130 Mass. 410, 412 (1881), and Roberts' treatise, none of the authorities cited so much as mentions 18th-century English practice. Although Collier offers as its opinion that actions to set aside fraudulent transfers are equitable in nature, 4 Collier on Bankruptcy

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