Class Actions, Civil Rights, and the National Injunction

Suzette M. Malveaux, The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law


This essay is a response to Professor Samuel Bray’s article proposing a blanket prohibition against injunctions that enjoin a defendant’s conduct with respect to nonparties. He argues that national injunctions are illegitimate under Article III and traditional equity and result in a number of difficulties.

This Response argues, from a normative lens, that Bray’s proposed ban on national injunctions should be rejected. Such a bright-line rule against national injunctions is too blunt an instrument to address the complexity of our tripartite system of government, our pluralistic society and our democracy. Although national injunctions may be imperfect and crude forms of justice, they are better than no justice at all — which for some actions, may be the alternative.