interest groups may submit Amicus Curiae Briefs


Amicus Curiae Briefs Submission of amicus curiae briefs is the easiest method by which interest groups can become involved in cases. This method allows a group to get its message before the court even though it does not control the case.

 Provided it has the permission of the parties to the case or the permission of the court, an interest group may submit an amicus brief to supplement the arguments of the parties. The filing of amicus briefs is a tactic used in appellate rather than trial courts, at both the federal and the state levels. Sometimes these briefs are aimed at strengthening the position of one of the parties in the case. When the Wisconsin v. Yoder case was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, the cause of the Amish was supported by amicus curiae briefs filed by the General Conference of Seventh Day Adventists, the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States, the Synagogue Council of America, 

the American Jewish Congress, the National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs, and the Mennonite Central Committee. Sometimes friend-of-the-court briefs are used not to strengthen the arguments of one of the parties but to suggest to the court the group’s own view of how the case should be resolved. Amicus curiae briefs are often filed in an attempt to persuade an appellate court to either grant or deny review of a lower-court decision. A study of the U.S. Supreme Court found that the presence of amicus briefs significantly increased the chances that the Court would give full treatment to a case.

Unlike private interest groups, all levels of the government can submit amicus briefs without obtaining permission. The solicitor general of the United States is especially important in this regard, and in some instances the Supreme Court may invite the solicitor general to present an amicus brief.

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