The American judicial system is founded on several policies which act as guideposts for the courts. Among these is the policy that states should be as free from federal control as possible. At the opposite end of the spectrum is the view that federal courts have a duty to protect individuals from violations of their constitutional rights. These policies meet, and seemingly clash, when a plaintiff enters a federal court either to request a declaratory judgment that a state statute is unconstitutional or to seek an injunction against the enforcement of the statute. The balancing of these competing interests has caused the courts a great amount of difficulty over the past ten years. In struggling to harmonize the conflict, the courts have sometimes appeared to lean too far towards states' rights; in other instances they have seemingly favored the rights of individuals. During the 1974 Term the Supreme Court decided six cases which in some way concerned either injunctions against the enforcement of unconstitutional state laws or declaratory judgments of their unconstitutionality. This note will show that a workable doctrine has finally developed in this area as a result of the guidance provided by these cases.
Note, Federal Courts, Injunctions, Declaratory Judgments, and State Law: The Supreme Court Has Finally Fashioned a Workable Abstention Doctrine, 25 Clev. St. L. Rev. 75 (1976)