Younger v. Harris 401 U.S. 37 (1971)

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YOUNGER v. HARRIS 401 U.S. 37 (1971)

Harris, indicted under California's criminal syndicalism law, sought a federal court injunction to compel the district attorney to cease prosecution in the state court. The district court held the law unconstitutional and issued the injunction. The Supreme Court reversed, 8–1, severely limiting dombrowski v. pfister (1965).

Justice hugo l. black, for the Court, rested decision on two interlocking grounds. First, a state prosecution was pending; because any claim that the underlying state law was unconstitutional could be made in the state proceeding, there was no "irreparable injury" to justify an injunction. Second, the national government should avoid intruding into "the legitimate activities of the state." Although a federal court might enjoin a state prosecution commenced in bad faith to harass the exercise of first amendment rights, the claim that the law was unconstitutional on its face did not satisfy this bad-faith harassment requirement. (See abstention doctrines.)

After Younger, the California courts held the syndicalism law invalid.

Kenneth L. Karst

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Younger v. Harris 401 U.S. 37 (1971)

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