O’Keefe v. Chisholm

A federal district judge issued an injunction that blocks the State of Wisconsin from conducting a judicially supervised criminal investigation into whether certain persons have violated the state’s campaign-finance laws. The court acted despite 28 U.S.C. 2283, the Anti-Injunction Act, which provides: “A court of the United States may not grant an injunction to stay proceedings in a State court except as expressly authorized by Act of Congress, or where necessary in aid of its jurisdiction, or to protect or effectuate its judgments.” In 1972 the Supreme Court (Mitchum v. Foster) held that 42 U.S.C.1983 authorizes anti-suit injunctions if appropriate under principles of “equity, comity, and federalism.” The Seventh Circuit held that this case does not present a situation in which state proceedings may be displaced. The Anti-Injunction Act embodies a fundamental principle of federalism: state courts are free to conduct their own litigation, without ongoing supervision by federal judges, let alone threats by federal judges to hold state judges in contempt. The scope given to state litigation is especially great in the realm of criminal investigations and prosecutions. The court remanded the case with instructions to dismiss, leaving all further proceedings to the courts of Wisconsin. View "O'Keefe v. Chisholm" on Justia Law