abstention. 1. The act of withholding or keeping back (something or oneself); esp., the
withholding of a vote. 2. A federal court’s relinquishment of jurisdiction when necessary to avoid
needless conflict with a state’s administra-tion of its own affairs. 3. The legal principle underlying
such a relinquishment of jurisdiction. Cf. COMITY; OUR FEDERALISM. [Cases: Federal Courts
41–65. C.J.S. Bankruptcy §§ 16, 40.]
Burford abstention.A federal court’s refusal to review a state court’s decision in cases
involving a complex reg-ulatory scheme and sensitive areas of state concern. Burford v. Sun Oil
Co., 319 U.S. 315, 63 S.Ct. 1098 (1943).
Colorado River abstention.A federal court’s decision to abstain while relevant and parallel
state-court proceedings are underway. Colorado River Water Conservation Dist. v. United States,
424 U.S. 800, 96 S.Ct. 1236 (1976).
equitable abstention.A federal court’s refraining from interfering with a state administrative
agency’s decision on a local matter when the aggrieved party has adequate relief in the state
permissive abstention.Abstention that a bankruptcy court can, but need not, exercise in a
dispute that relates to the bankruptcy estate but that can be litigated, or is being litigated, in
another forum. • In deciding whether to abstain, the bankruptcy court must consider (1) the degree
to which state law governs the case, (2) the appropriateness of the procedure to be followed in the
other forum, (3) the remoteness of the dispute to the issues in the bankruptcy case, and (4) the
presence of nondebtor parties in the dispute. 28 USCA § 1334(c)(1). [Cases: Federal Courts
Pullman abstention.A federal court’s decision to abstain so that state courts will have an
opportunity to settle an underlying state-law question whose resolution may avert the need to
decide a federal constitutional question. Railroad Comm’n v. Pullman Co., 312 U.S. 496, 61 S.Ct.
643 (1941). [Cases: Federal Courts 43, 46.]
Thibodaux abstention (tib-<<schwa>>-doh). A federal court’s decision to abstain so that state
courts can decide difficult issues of public importance that, if decided by the federal court, could
result in unnecessary friction between state and federal authorities. Louisiana Power & Light Co. v.
City of Thibodaux, 360 U.S. 25, 79 S.Ct. 1070 (1959). [Cases: Federal Courts 41, 43.]
Younger abstention. 1. A federal court’s decision not to interfere with an ongoing state
criminal proceeding by issuing an injunction or granting declaratory relief, unless the prosecution
has been brought in bad faith or merely as harassment. Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 91 S.Ct.
746 (1971). — Also termed equitable-restraint doctrine. [Cases: Federal Courts 49, 51, 54.] 2.
By extension, a federal court’s decision not to interfere with a state-court civil proceeding used to
enforce the criminal law, as to abate an obscene nuisance. See OUR FEDERALISM. [Blacks Law 8th]