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in a 7-2 decision, the justices reversed a decision of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that held that a lawsuit accusing a national bank of charging usurious interest rates could not be removed to federal court. Beneficial National Bank v. Anderson, No. 02-306. The court acknowledged that, except in instances where there is diversity jurisdiction, as a general rule a case is not removable unless the complaint affirmatively alleges a federal claim. One exception to that rule, however, is when a federal statute completely pre-empts a cause of action. Here, the National Bank Act provides the exclusive cause of action for usury claims against national banks, making this case removable. Stevens delivered the court’s opinion, in which Rehnquist, O’Connor, Kennedy, Souter, Ginsburg and Breyer joined. Scalia filed a dissenting opinion, in which Thomas joined.

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