Amicus Curiae

Friend of the Court.

Not all actions taken by interests groups revolve around campaign contributions or wealthy donors. In fact, most of the work of interest groups groups revolve around educating stakeholders about political issues. Amicus curiae is Latin for ‘friend of the court.’ Generally, organizations and individuals who are not a part of a legal case will submit legal briefs and assists a court by offering information, expertise, or insight that has a bearing on the issues in the case.

Check out the list of amicus briefs on the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) case which legalized gay marriage nationally. Skim one or two of these, particularly the ‘Summary of Argument Section.’ Complete the questions that follow.

The list of amicus briefs was provided to us by the Supreme Court of the United States.

Questions for Completion.

1.  Why might an interest group choose to use a amicus curiae strategy?

2.  What is one argument a group made opposing gay marriage in the briefs?

3.  What is one argument a group made supporting gay marriage in the briefs?

4.  Do you think amicus curiae briefs are an effective strategy for an organization trying to influence the court? Why or why not?

Photo/Image: “Amicus Curiae Word Cloud” by via Creative Commons