Held: In affirming the District Court's judgment upholding the
constitutionality of the Oakland School District's affirmative
action plan requiring that, in order to be considered "responsible"
bidders, eligible to be awarded certain School District contracts,
general contractors must use minority-owned businesses for at least
25 percent of the total bid, the Court of Appeals abused its
discretion in declining to resolve a pendent state law claim that
the affirmative action plan was invalid under California law. If
the plan was invalid under state law, the Court of Appeals need not
have reached the federal constitutional claim.
Certiorari granted; 662 F.2d 550, vacated and remanded.
California Educ. Code Ann. § 39640 (West Supp.1982) requires
school districts to award any contracts for work involving more
than $12,000 to the "lowest responsible bidder." For projects over
$100,000, the Oakland School District requires that to be
considered responsible, general contractors must use minority-owned
businesses for at least 25 percent of the dollar amount of the
total bid. Petitioners submitted the low bid for an advertised
project but were disqualified under the School District plan as not
being responsible. They brought this action claiming damages and
asserting that the affirmative action plan violated not only the
Federal Constitution but also state law. The Court of Appeals
affirmed a judgment of the District Court upholding the plan on
constitutional grounds. 662 F.2d 550 (1981). Although the Court of
Appeals acknowledged that, under one of its prior decisions, the
plan at issue might be invalid under state law, it declined to
decide the state law question, since it was a sensitive
Page 457 U. S. 595
matter and petitioners could present it to the state courts.
If the affirmative action plan is invalid under state law, the
Court of Appeals need not have reached the federal constitutional
issue. Nevertheless, the Court of Appeals declined to resolve the
pendent state law claim. Under Hagans v. Lavine,
415 U. S. 528
415 U. S. 546
(1974), and Mine Workers v. Gibbs, 383 U.
(1966), this was an abuse of discretion in the
circumstances of this case.
We accordingly grant the petition for certiorari, vacate the
judgment of the Court of Appeals, and remand the case for further
proceedings consistent with this opinion.