Simple Definition of abstention
: the act of choosing not to do or have something
: a formal refusal to vote on something
Examples of abstention in a sentence
There were 10 ayes, 6 nays, and 2 abstentions when the vote was taken.
a high rate of voter abstention
Origin and Etymology of abstention
Late Latin abstention-, abstentio, from Latin abstinēre
First Known Use: 1521
Legal Definition of abstention
: the staying of the exercise of federal jurisdiction in a case that involves a question of state law or policy which the federal court prefers to have resolved by a state court or agency; also : the staying of the exercise of federal jurisdiction in a case that involves a proceeding in a court of military justice Burford abstention \ˈbər-fərd-\ : an abstention grounded on the involvement in the federal case of a challenge to the exercise of a usually complex state administrative function Colorado River abstention \ˌkä-lə-ˈra-dō-, -ˈrä-\ : an abstention grounded especially on the involvement in the federal case of questions of state concern that are also at issue in a parallel case in state court Pullman abstention \ˈpu̇l-mən-\ : an abstention grounded on the involvement in the federal case of the interpretation of an ambiguously worded state law whose constitutionality would have to be determined by the federal court Editor's note: A party to a case subjected to a Pullman abstention may reserve the right to return to federal court once the state court has resolved the state law question. Pullman abstentions are the most common type of abstention. Thibodaux abstention \ˌtē-bə-ˈdō-\ : an abstention grounded on the involvement in the federal case of an issue that greatly affects and concerns a state Younger abstention \ˈyəŋ-gər-\ : an abstention grounded on the plaintiff's invocation of federal jurisdiction for the purpose of restraining an ongoing usually criminal state proceeding that has been brought in good faith and not for harassment
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