The Volokh Conspiracy

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Equity Isn't Venti for the Government


Tomorrow the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Starbucks Corp. v. McKinney. Read more in this piece at ScotusBlog by Ronald Mann. The question concerns the standard for injunctions sought by the NLRB.

Here is a note from the forthcoming edition of Ames, Chafee, and Re on Remedies, my casebook with Emily Sherwin:

Does it matter that the plaintiff is the government? Or do the same equitable powers and limitations apply? Cf. National Labor Relations Board. v. P*I*E Nationwide, Inc., 894 F.2d 887, 893 (7th Cir. 1990) (Posner, J.): "The issuance of an injunction is the exercise of an equitable power, and is subject to the equitable constraints that have evolved over centuries in recognition of the heavy costs that injunctions can impose (including costs to innocent third parties) and the potential severities of contempt. . . . The principles of equitable jurisprudence are not suspended merely because a government agency is the plaintiff."