Georgia Law Review, Vol. 5, No. 2 (Winter 1971), pp. 294-311


Last Term the Supreme Court rendered its decision in Atlantic Coast Line Railroad v. Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers. This case involved the present anti-injunction statute, section 2283 of Title 28, which forbids federal court injunction of state court proceedings. Mr. Justice Black, writing for the majority, traced the roots of the statute's predecessor into the "fundamental constitutional independence of the states and their courts." He hinted that the act grew out of concern for constitutional inviolability of a state court's adjudicative process. Mr. Justice Black went on to announce that the anti-injunction statute is absolute; no judicially created exceptions are to be allowed.

This Commentary will argue that the 1793 legislation in which the anti-injunction provision first appeared does not indicate that the provision enjoyed a fundamental constitutional base. Further, it will be argued that the Court's view that section 2283 is not subject to judicially created exceptions is itself subject to limits.