Washington, D.C. – The Atlantic Legal Foundation (ALF) has submitted comments to the Clerk of the Supreme Court endorsing the Court’s recent proposal to eliminate the requirement for obtaining the parties’ consent, or the Court’s permission, to file an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief.
ALF’s comments draw upon its 45 years of experience filing hundreds of Supreme Court amicus briefs. The comments discuss why, as a practical matter, obtaining consent serves no useful purpose and can impede submission of amicus briefs that provide helpful legal arguments, non-adjudicatory factual information, or perspective relevant to the legal issues in a case.
The comments, submitted by ALF Executive Vice President & General Counsel Lawrence Ebner, explain that
“a requirement to obtain the parties’ consent for the filing of an amicus brief is inconsistent with the true purpose of such as brief: serving as a friend of the Court. . . .
The benefit to the Court of an amicus brief that provides . . . helpful, non-duplicative legal argument, or additional perspective or information relevant to the question presented, should not be dependent upon the the parties’ consent.”
ALF’s comments also emphasize that
“amicus briefs serve the additional important function of opening our nation’s judicial process at the highest level to any organization or individual with an interest in the question presented by an appeal.”
“[p]roviding non-litigants with [a] voice in this Court fosters our democracy and helps ensure quality in American jurisprudence.”
ALF applauds the Supreme Court’s willingness to revise its procedural rules to facilitate, and reflect the realities of, practicing before the Court.