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Vinson opinion

Vinson opinion

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Published by Dave Weigel

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Published by: Dave Weigel on Jan 31, 2011
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The last issue to be resolved is the plaintiffs’ request for injunctive relief
enjoining implementation of the Act, which can be disposed of very quickly.
Injunctive relief is an “extraordinary” [Weinberger v. Romero-Barcelo, 456
U.S. 305, 312, 102 S. Ct. 1798, 72 L. Ed. 2d 91 (1982)], and “drastic” remedy
[Aaron v. S.E.C., 446 U.S. 680, 703, 100 S. Ct. 1945, 64 L. Ed. 2d 611 (1980)
(Burger, J., concurring)]. It is even more so when the party to be enjoined is the
federal government, for there is a long-standing presumption “that officials of the
Executive Branch will adhere to the law as declared by the court. As a result, the
declaratory judgment is the functional equivalent of an injunction.” See Comm. on
Judiciary of U.S. House of Representatives v. Miers, 542 F.3d 909, 911 (D.C. Cir.
2008); accord Sanchez-Espinoza v. Reagan, 770 F.2d 202, 208 n.8 (D.C. Cir.
1985) (“declaratory judgment is, in a context such as this where federal officers
are defendants, the practical equivalent of specific relief such as an injunction . . .
since it must be presumed that federal officers will adhere to the law as declared
by the court”) (Scalia, J.) (emphasis added).
There is no reason to conclude that this presumption should not apply here.
Thus, the award of declaratory relief is adequate and separate injunctive relief is
not necessary.

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