Amicus Curiae Brief Definition

Learn the definition and significance of amicus curiae briefs in legal cases, with examples, case studies, and statistics.


Amicus curiae, which means ‘friend of the court’ in Latin, refers to a legal brief filed by a third party who is not directly involved in a case but has a strong interest in the outcome. This article will provide a detailed explanation of amicus curiae briefs, their purpose, examples, case studies, and statistics.

Purpose of Amicus Curiae Briefs

Amicus curiae briefs allow individuals, organizations, or experts to provide additional information, arguments, or insights that may assist the court in making a well-informed decision. These briefs can bring a unique perspective, expertise, or evidence that may not have been presented by the parties involved in the case.

Examples of Amicus Curiae Briefs

  • The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) often files amicus curiae briefs in cases involving civil rights and civil liberties issues.
  • In the landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education, several amicus curiae briefs were filed in support of desegregation.
  • In the same-sex marriage case of Obergefell v. Hodges, numerous amicus curiae briefs were submitted by various groups advocating for marriage equality.

Case Studies

In the case of Roe v. Wade, several organizations filed amicus curiae briefs arguing for or against abortion rights, which influenced the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize abortion.

In the Affordable Care Act case of NFIB v. Sebelius, various amicus curiae briefs offered different perspectives on the constitutionality of the individual mandate, influencing the court’s ruling.

Statistics on Amicus Curiae Briefs

According to a study by the National Center for State Courts, the number of amicus curiae briefs filed in the U.S. Supreme Court has been steadily increasing over the past few decades, indicating their growing importance in shaping legal decisions.

Overall, amicus curiae briefs play a crucial role in ensuring that all relevant information and arguments are presented to the court, ultimately contributing to the fair and just resolution of legal disputes.

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