Abstention and “All Writs” issues in preliminary injunction case

Plaintiffs obtained a preliminary injunction against enforcement of a school voucher program, alleging it violated a desegregation consent decree.  Moore v. Tangipahoa Parish School Board, No. 12-31218 (Jan. 14, 2013, unpublished).  The Fifth Circuit found an abuse of discretion in denying a stay pending appeal.  One reason was Pullman abstention, which arises “when an unsettled area of state law . . . would render a decision on the federal issue unnecessary,” and where the Court said the defendant had a “a strong likelihood of establishing” it in light of pending state litigation about the constitutionality of the law under state law.  Another was jurisdiction under the All Writs Act, where the Court said the plaintiffs’ evidence of harm was “based merely on general financial information and speculation.”  A dissent further discussed Pullman abstention and advocated outright dismissal of the case.  The opinion appears to have been unpublished because of its expedited procedural posture, and a later panel will fully address the merits on a conventional briefing schedule.  Id. at 4 n.1

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