Wednesday, July 27, 2016

All the Supreme Court's Friends

Image result for friendsThat's the title of of today's DJ article by Orrick's Brian Goldman about SCOTUS amicus briefs this past term. "Overall, interested parties filed 849 amicus briefs, with at least one filed in 64 of the 69 cases the court heard." The affirmative action and abortion cases each had over 80 amicus briefs, several of which were discussed in the opinions. What makes an amicus brief stand out from the crowd?
Briefs that offer something new are more likely to attract attention and fall into three categories: (1) Brandeis briefs that supply additional facts and evidence, which inform the court about scientific or social background; (2) briefs that offer useful perspectives and predictions about the consequences of a ruling; (3) briefs that develop alternative arguments not pressed by the parties, thus giving the Court more options to consider.

For an anti-SLAPP opinion involving retired Justice Sonenshine, click here.

Here's an interesting case from 2/1 in which each justice files an opinion. Justice Johnson's dissent ends like this:
   The late Senator and statesman from New York, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, frequently observed: “[Y]ou are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.” (Timothy J. Penny, Facts Are Facts (Sept. 4, 2003) National Review, at p. 1.) I would humbly add to that: And not your own law either.
   This axiom, which applies equally to kitchen table discussions, academic and political discourse, and appellate review, is part of our societal fabric and underlies our faith in the judicial process.
   I, therefore, must respectfully dissent.