Rooker v. Fidelity Trust Co

Citation44 S.Ct. 149,68 L.Ed. 362,263 U.S. 413
Decision Date10 December 1923
Docket NumberNo. 295,295
PartiesROOKER et al. v. FIDELITY TRUST CO. et al
CourtUnited States Supreme Court

Wm. V. Rooker, of Indianapolis, Ind., for appellants, in opposition to the motion.

Charles E. Cox, of Indianapolis, Ind., for appellees, in support of the motion.

Mr. Justice VAN DEVANTER delivered the opinion of the Court.

This is a bill in equity to have a judgment of a circuit court in Indiana, which was affirmed by the Supreme Court of the state, declared null and void, and to obtain other relief dependent on that outcome. An effort to have the judgment reviewed by this court on writ of error had failed because the record did not disclose the presence of any question constituting a basis for such a review. Rooker v Fidelity Trust Co., 261 U. S. 114, 43 Sup. Ct. 288. The parties to the bill are the same as in the litigation in the state court, but with an addition of two defendants whose presence does not need special notice. All are citizens of the same state. The grounds advanced for resorting to the District Court are that the judgment was rendered and affirmed in contravention of the contract clause of the Constitution of the United States (article 1, § 10, cl. 1) and the due process of law and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment (section 1), in that it gave effect to a state statute alleged to be in conflict with those clauses and did not give effect to a prior decision in the same cause by the Supreme Court of the State which is alleged to have become the 'law of the case.' The District Court was of opinion that the suit was not within its jurisdiction as defined by Congress, and on that ground dismissed the bill. The plaintiffs have appealed directly to this court under section 238 of the Judicial Code (Comp. St. § 1215).

The appellees move that the appeal be dismissed, or in the alternative that the decree be affirmed.

The appeal is within the first clause of section 238; so the motion to dismiss must be overruled. But the suit is so plainly not within the District Court's juridiction as defined by Congress that the motion to affirm must be sustained.

It affirmatively appears from the bill that the judgment was rendered in a cause wherein the circuit court had jurisdiction of both the subject-matter and the parties, that a full hearing was had therein, that the judgment was responsive to the issues, and that it was affirmed by the Supreme Court of the state on an appeal by the plaintiffs. 131 N. E. 769. If the constitutional questions stated in the bill actually arose in the cause, it was the province and duty of the state courts to decide them; and their decision, whether right or wrong, was an exercise of jurisdiction. If the decision was wrong, that did not make the judgment void, but merely left it open to reversal or modification in an appropriate and timely appellate proceeding. Unless and until so reversed or modified, it would be an effective and conclusive adjudication. Elliott v. Peirsol, 1 Pet. 328, 340, 7 L. Ed. 164; Thompson v. Tolmie, 2 Pet. 157, 169, 7 L. Ed. 381; Voorhees v. Bank of United States, 10 Pet. 449, 474, 9 L. Ed. 490; Cornett v. Williams, 20 Wall. 226, 249; Ex parte Harding, 120 U. S. 782, 7 Sup. Ct. 780, 30 L. Ed. 824. Under the legislation of Congress, no court of the United States other than this court could entertain a proceeding to reverse or modify the judgment for errors of that character. Judicial Code, § 237, as amended by Act Sept. 6, 1916, c. 448, § 2, 39 Stat. 726 (Comp. St. § 1214). To do so would be an exercise of appellate jurisdiction. The jurisdiction possessed by the District Courts is strictly original. Judicial Code, § 24 (Comp. St. § 991). Besides, the period within which a proceeding might be begun for the correction of errors such as are charged in the bill had expired before it was filed, Act Sept. 6, 1916, c. 448, § 6, 39 Stat. 726 (Comp. St. § 1228a), and, as is pointed out in Voorhees v. Bank of United States, supra, after that period elapses an aggrieved litigant cannot be permitted to do indirectly...

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    • U.S. District Court — Middle District of North Carolina
    • 21 Noviembre 2016
    ...claims for damages and injunctive relief, and Plaintiff has not requested proper declaratory relief. II. Rooker-Feldman Doctrine The Rooker-Feldman doctrine also deprives the Court of jurisdiction over Plaintiff's claims. Derived from the Supreme Court's decisions in District of Columbia Co......
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    ...annulling, modifying, or conditioning such stay . . . ." 16. "[This] doctrine takes its name from Rooker v. Fidelity Trust Co., 263 U.S. 413, 44 S. Ct. 149, 68 L. Ed. 362 (1923), and District of Columbia Court of Appeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462, 103 S. Ct. 1303, 75 L. Ed. 2d 206 (1983). Ro......
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    ...of federal rights. Id. at 57 n. 3, 91 S.Ct. at 750 n. 3. (Brennan, J., concurring); cf. Rooker v. Fidelity Trust Co., 263 U.S. 413, 415-16, 44 S.Ct. 149, 150, 68 L.Ed. 362 (1923); Worldwide Church of God v. McNair, 805 F.2d 888, 890-91 (9th Cir. 1986).2 While Younger abstention originated a......
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  • The Sign of the Three—Text Rules: SCOTUS Today
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    • LexBlog United States
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    ...The Court also rejected the state’s claim that relief was barred by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine [see Rooker v. Fidelity Trust Co., 263 U. S. 413 (1923); District of Columbia Court of Appeals v. Feldman, 460 U. S. 462 (1983)]. That doctrine prohibits federal courts from adjudicating cases br......
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    ...much is left of the holdings of Rooker v. Fidelity Trust Co., 263 U.S. 413 (1923), and District of Columbia Court of Appeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462 (1983), and of the eponymous Rooker-Feldman doctrine, but what remains was the subject of the Seventh Circuit's recent decision in Harold v. ......
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    ...from two Supreme Court decisions. See District of Columbia Court of Appeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462 (1983); Rooker v. Fidelity Tr. Co., 263 U.S. 413 (1923). As Professor Rowe put it in his introduction to the Issue, the doctrine "restsinnocuously enough on the proposition that Congress has......
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    ...court adjudication. See England v. La. State Bd. of Med. Exam'rs, 375 U.S. 411, 419, 421-22 (1964). (28) See Rooker v. Fid. Trust Co., 263 U.S. 413 (1923); D.C. Court of Appeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462 (1983). See also Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Saudi Basic Indus. Corp., 125 S. Ct. 1517 (29) The......
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