For class on Friday, Feb. 17th, Professor Watts will talk briefly for 10 or 15 minutes about some current events involving the Department of Labor. After that, she will use the rest of our class time to explore the role that amici briefs--meaning "friend of the court" briefs--play in litigation. Our main goal will be to gain an understanding of what makes an amicus brief effective. This will prove especially useful for those of you who choose to draft an amicus brief for your final class project.
To help facilitate and ground our discussion of amici briefs, we will focus Friday on some amici briefs filed in the Washington v. Trump "travel ban" case. Your assigned reading is as follows:
1. If you have not already done so, skim the amended complaint filed by the State of Washington so you get a sense of what claims have been raised.
2. Read the Ninth Circuit's order denying the federal government's motion for a stay in the case.
3. Read the amicus brief on standing filed by various law professors. Note that you can skip the motion to file an amicus brief that precedes the amicus brief; you can start reading at page 8 of the PDF, which is the beginning of the actual amicus brief.
4. Read the technology amicus brief filed by various technology companies. Note that you can skip the motion to file an amicus brief that precedes the amicus brief; you can start reading at page 7 of the PDF, which is the beginning of the actual amicus brief.
As you read the two amici briefs assigned above, please jot down a list of what you think makes a particular amicus brief effective or ineffective. Please bring this list to class on Friday.
Helen A. Anderson, Frenemies of the Court: The Many Faces of Amicus Curiae, 49 U. Rich. L. Rev. 361 (2015).
Here is the agenda for Friday's class:
(1) We will spend the first half of the class examining how submitting comments to rulemaking or petitions for rulemaking can impact the outcome of policy and give rise to impact litigation. In preparation for your final projects, we will specifically discuss how to write effective comments and petitions.
(2) You will be given roughly the second half of the class period as a break-out session, during which time you can discuss the various final projects with your classmates. You can strategize, brainstorm ideas, come up with questions about the assignments, etc.
In preparation for class, please take a look at the materials on how to write effective comments and petitions for rulemaking:
Tips on Drafting Effective Comments
Tips on Drafting Effective Citizen Petitions