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2018

Legal Remedies

Howard M Wasserman

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“Nationwide” Injunctions Are Really “Universal” Injunctions And They Are Never Appropriate, Howard Wasserman May 2018

“Nationwide” Injunctions Are Really “Universal” Injunctions And They Are Never Appropriate, Howard Wasserman

Howard M Wasserman

Federal district courts are routinely issuing broad injunctions prohibiting the federal government from enforcing constitutionally invalid laws, regulations, and policies on immigration and immigration-adjacent issues. Styled “nationwide injunctions,” they prohibit enforcement of the challenges laws not only against the named plaintiffs, but against all people and entities everywhere.

The first problem with these injunctions is one of nomenclature. “Nationwide” suggests something about the “where” of the injunction, the geographic scope in which it protects. The better term is “universal injunction,” which captures the real controversy over the “who” of the injunction, as courts purport to protect the universe of all …