Amicus curiae briefs – also known as friend of the court briefs – provide an opportunity to supplement the briefing by the parties to litigation. Typically filed in appellate courts, amicus brief can nudge a court in the right direction or help convince a court that it lacks jurisdiction even to decide an issue. For example, a trade association might support its member in an enforcement action; or an individual might have a court case that depends on how a higher court handles someone else’s appeal.
The Law Office of Lawrence J. Joseph in Washington, D.C. has filed more than a hundred appellate amicus briefs, in not only the U.S. Supreme Court but also all regional federal circuits. The firm also occasionally files in state supreme courts and state or federal trial courts. The firm’s amicus clients have ranged from U.S. and state senators and representatives, state and local government, trade associations, public-interest groups, and concerned individuals.
For example, in Engine Mfrs. Ass’n v. South Coast Air Quality Management Dist., No. 02-1343 (U.S.), the Supreme Court used an argument from the firm’s amicus brief for the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, American Trucking Associations, Inc., Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association, National Association of Home Builders, and Construction Industry Air Quality Coalition to find broader federal preemption of emission standards than the petitioner Engine Manufacturers Association argued. Although courts often decline to adopt merits arguments by non-parties, federal courts typically accept jurisdictional arguments raised by amicus briefs.
Other examples of the firm’s amicus brief include the following:
• Amicus curiae brief in support of appellants in Hotze v. Sebelius, No. 14-20039 (5th Cir.), for U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz and U.S. Reps. Pete Sessions, Robert Aderholt, Joe Barton, Kerry Bentivolio, Charles W. Boustany, Jr., Kevin Brady, Paul Broun, Vern Buchanan, John Carter, Steve Chabot, Tom Cole, K. Michael Conaway, Paul Cook, Kevin Cramer, John Culberson, Jeff Duncan, Blake Farenthold, John Fleming, Bill Flores, Scott Garrett, Bob Gibbs, Louie Gohmert, Trey Gowdy, Morgan Griffith, Ralph M Hall, Richard Hudson, Tim Huelskamp, Lynn Jenkins, Bill Johnson, Sam Johnson, Walter Jones, Steve King, Jack Kingston, John Kline, Doug LaMalfa, Leonard Lance, James Lankford, Michael T. McCaul, Patrick T. McHenry, Mark Meadows, Jeff Miller, Mick Mulvaney, Randy Neugebauer, Richard Nugent, Pete Olson, Robert Pittenger, Bill Posey, Scott Rigell, Phil Roe, Keith Rothfus, Matt Salmon, Steve Scalise, Mike Simpson, Lamar Smith, Steve Stockman, Lee Terry, Mac Thornberry, Randy Weber, Daniel Webster, Lynn A. Westmoreland, Roger Williams, Joe Wilson, Robert J. Wittman, Robert Woodall, Ted Yoho, and Don Young on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
• Amicus curiae brief in support of neither party in Utility Air Resources Group v. EPA, Nos. 12-1146 & Consolidated Cases (U.S.), for American Road & Transportation Builders Association on climate change and Clean Air Act judicial review.
• Amicus curiae brief in support of appellants in Engine Mfrs. Ass’n v. South Coast Air Quality Management Dist., No. 05-56654 (9th Cir.), for Bell Cab Company, Inc., San Gabriel Transit, Inc., Independent Taxi Owners Association, Los Angeles Checker Cab Cooperative, Inc., L.A. Taxi Cooperative, Inc. d.b.a. Yellow Cab Co., United Independent Taxi Drivers, Inc., Beverly Hills Transit Cooperative, Inc., United Taxi of San Fernando Valley, South Bay Cooperative, Inc. d.b.a. United Checker Cab, and Long Beach Yellow Cab Cooperative, Inc., on federal preemption of local taxi emission standards.
If you are interested in filing an amicus brief, the firm will evaluate your case and propose arguments without charge.
Contact the firm for more information. Joseph's Washington, D.C.-based office serves people throughout the country.