An Appellate Solution to Nationwide Injunctions

Volume 96

Sam Heavenrich

District courts have issued an unprecedented number of nationwide injunctions during the Obama and Trump administrations, provoking criticism from the Supreme Court. This Article proposes a change to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure that addresses the Justices’ concerns without taking the drastic step of eliminating nationwide injunctions entirely. Specifically, this Article recommends amending Rule 65 to allow only the appellate courts to issue injunctive relief that extends beyond the plaintiffs in cases challenging a federal law or policy. In addition to the proposed Rule change, this Article offers a categorization framework for existing proposals addressing nationwide injunctions, classifying them as “Prohibitory Rules,” “Inhibitory Standards,” or “Inhibitory Rules.” The proposal itself takes the form of an Inhibitory Rule.

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