Jinks v. Richland County
Annotate this Case
538 U.S. 456 (2003)
OCTOBER TERM, 2002
JINKS v. RICHLAND COUNTY, SOUTH CAROLINA, ET AL.
CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT OF SOUTH CAROLINA No. 02-258. Argued March 5, 2003-Decided April 22, 2003
Title 28 U. S. C. § 1367 determines whether a federal district court with jurisdiction over a civil action may exercise supplemental jurisdiction over other claims forming part of the same Article III "case or controversy." If the court declines to exercise such jurisdiction, the claims will be dismissed and must be refiled in state court. To prevent the limitations period on those claims from expiring while they are pending in federal court, § 1367(d) requires state courts to toll the period while a supplemental claim is pending in federal court and for 30 days after its dismissal unless state law provides for a longer tolling period. Petitioner filed a federal-court action claiming that Richland County (hereinafter respondent) and others violated 42 U. S. C. § 1983 in connection with her husband's death. She also asserted supplemental claims for wrongful death and survival under South Carolina law. The District Court granted defendants summary judgment on the § 1983 claim and declined to exercise jurisdiction over the state-law claims. Petitioner then filed the supplemental claims in state court and won a wrongfuldeath verdict against respondent. The State Supreme Court reversed, finding the state-law claims time barred. Although they would not have been barred under § 1367(d)'s tolling rule, the court held § 1367(d) unconstitutional as applied to claims brought in state court against a State's political subdivisions.
Held: Section 1367(d)'s application to claims brought against a State's political subdivisions is constitutional. Pp. 461-467.
(a) The Court rejects respondent's contention that § 1367(d) is facially invalid because it exceeds Congress's enumerated powers. Rather, it is necessary and proper for executing Congress's power "[tJo constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court," Art. I, § 8, cl. 9, and assuring that those tribunals may fairly and efficiently exercise "[tJhe judicial Power of the United States," Art. III, § 1. As to "necessity": It suffices that § 1367(d) is conducive to the administration of justice in federal court and is plainly adapted to that end. See McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. 316,421. And as to propriety: Contrary to respondent's claim, § 1367(d) does not violate state-sovereignty principles by regulating state-court procedures. Pp. 461-465.
(b) Also without merit is respondent's contention that § 1367(d) should not be interpreted to apply to claims brought against a State's political subdivisions. Congress lacks Article I authority to override a State's immunity from suit in its own courts, see Alden v. Maine, 527 U. S. 706, but it may subject a municipality to suit in state court if that is done pursuant to a valid exercise of its enumerated powers, see id., at 756. This is merely the consequence of those cases, which respondent does not ask the Court to overrule, holding that municipalities do not enjoy a constitutionally protected immunity from suit. And any suggestion that an "unmistakably clear" statement is required before an Act of Congress may expose a local government to liability cannot possibly be reconciled with Monell v. New York City Dept. of Social Servs., 436 U. S. 658. Pp. 465-467.
349 S. C. 298, 563 S. E. 2d 104, reversed and remanded.
SCALIA, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous court. SOUTER, J., filed a concurring opinion, post, p. 467.
Robert S. Peck argued the cause for petitioner. With him on the briefs were James Mixon Griffin and Bradford P. Simpson.
Jeffrey A. Lamken argued the cause for the United States as intervenor. On the briefs were Solicitor General Olson, Assistant Attorney General McCallum, Deputy Solicitor General Clement, Malcolm L. Stewart, Mark B. Stern, and Al isa B. Klein.
Andrew F. Lindemann argued the cause for respondent Richland County. With him on the brief were William H. Davidson II and David L. Morrison.*
* Barbara Arnwine and Thomas J. Henderson filed a brief for the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law as amicus curiae urging reversal.
Briefs of amici curiae urging affirmance were filed for the State of Alabama et al. by William H. Pryor, Jr., Attorney General of Alabama, Nathan A. Forrester, Solicitor General, Carter G. Phillips, and Gene C. Schaerr, and by the Attorneys General for their respective States as follows: Ken Salazar of Colorado, M. Jane Brady of Delaware, Thurbert E. Baker of Georgia, Mark J. Bennett of Hawaii, Steve Carter of Indiana, Thomas J. Miller of Iowa, Carla J. Stovall of Kansas, Mike Moore of
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