Alexander v. Sandoval

In Alexander v. Sandoval, 532 U.S. 275, 121 S.Ct. 1511, 149 L.Ed.2d 517 (2001), the Supreme Court strictly curtailed the authority of the courts to recognize implied rights of action, requiring that a review of the text and structure of a statute yield a clear manifestation of congressional intent to create a private cause of action before a court can find such a right to be implied. In ascertaining whether a private right of action exists, "the judicial task is to interpret the statute Congress has passed to determine whether it displays an intent to create not just a private right but also a private remedy." Id. at 286-87, 121 S.Ct. 1511. To this end, "statutory intent . . . is determinative, because without it, a cause of action does not exist and courts may not create one, no matter how desirable that might be as a policy matter, or how compatible with the statute." Id. Thus, the Court instructed, "in determining whether statutes create private rights of action, as in interpreting statutes generally, legal context matters only to the extent it clarifies text." Id. at 288, 121 S.Ct. 1511.