Sun. Jul 21st, 2024

Amicus Briefs – Amicus Curiae Briefs

An amicus curiae (literally “friend of the court”) is someone who is not a party to a case, but offers information that bears on the case, and has not been solicited by any of the parties to assist a court.

An amicus curiae brief is a learned treatise, that is, a text that is sufficiently authoritative in its field to be admissible as evidence in a court, and is a way to introduce concerns ensuring that (the possibly) broad legal effects of a court decision will not depend solely on the parties directly involved in the case. The decision on whether to admit the information lies at the discretion of the court.

Amicus Curiae Brief Program

Amicus curiae (“friend-of-the-court”) briefs are briefs written by individuals or groups who are not directly involved in a legal case, but have expertise or insight to offer a court to assist in making its decision. Since 1962, APA has filed nearly 250 amici briefs based on the most up-to-date and rigorously tested psychological science and research. As of late 2022, 23 of APA’s amicus briefs were cited directly by the U.S. Supreme Court and another 23 were cited directly in the decisions of lower courts.

APA’s Amicus Curiae Brief Program is supported by the Amicus Curiae Expert Panel, a group of eight psychologists with expertise in various psycho-legal areas. Members of the panel assist the Office of General Counsel (OGC) by drafting and reviewing briefs, identifying additional relevant expert psychologists, and engaging in regular scanning of the environment for cases where psychological science could be utilized for the benefit society and to improve human lives.


Why and When to File an Amicus Brief

 

Appellate courts are a vital part of our justice system, and I’m pleased to have spent 17 years as a jurist in one of the best. These courts evaluate cases that were previously ruled on to ensure the right judgment was made at the trial level. I enjoyed being in a position to try and “get it right” after a case had been tried below.

You may find a case you feel strongly about reach this elevated level of the justice system. Even if you’re not one of the parties in the case, there may be a way to have your say utilizing a tool I often saw when I was a judge: the amicus brief.

What Are Amicus Briefs?

An amicus curiae is a person who isn’t a party to a case. They assist an appellate court by offering additional, relevant information or arguments the court may want to consider before making their ruling. The phrase, amicus curiae, is Latin for “friend of the court.” Amicus briefs – shorthand for the formal term “amicus curiae briefs,” are legal briefs filed in appellate courts by amicus curiae. They are submitted in a specific case under review. They essentially show the court that its final decision will impact people other than the parties.

Amicus briefs are filed by people who typically take the position of one side in a case, in the process supporting a cause that has some bearing on the issues in the case. The groups most likely to file amicus briefs are businesses, academics, government entities, non-profits and trade associations.

In the first 100 years of American high-court cases, amicus briefs were rare. From 1900 to 1950, amicus briefs were filed in only about 10% of all of the cases on appeal, according to a review of amicus advocacy published by the University of Pennsylvania Law Review. However, the landscape has now completely changed — so much so that today more amicus briefs are being filed in the state and federal appellate courts than ever before.

Different appellate courts have their own rules regarding amicus briefs, so checking the rules before you file such a brief is imperative. Since, historically, amicus briefs were supposed to bring new relevant information, not argued by the parties, to the attention of the court, the courts tend to favor these types of amicus briefs. However, some organizations use amicus briefs like press releases, stating positions not only to inform the court but to influence public perception. While these briefs are often considered a burden by appellate court jurists, they can be a good way for a group to relate to the public in such a way that influences goodwill and even profits. This is particularly the case in this age of social media engagement when the values of an organization are so readily on display 24-7.

Why File an Amicus Brief?

There are good reasons to file an amicus brief. It all depends on what you’re trying to achieve. The following are some of the best reasons for employing this important tool.

1) The Outcome Sets a Precedent

In some appellate court cases, the decision can be a precedent-setting one. This means a binding ruling for future court cases. If you’re currently involved in a similar case in an appellate court, you should seriously consider filing an amicus brief to share your relevant views on the matter. Taking this step may ensure a favorable ruling in your case.

Another good reason lawyers may write amicus briefs is to inform the appellate court of rulings from other states. This tactic can help keep a level of consistency in orders from state to state. It can also give the ruling state valuable knowledge about how different courts have seen this type of case.

2) The Outcome Directly Affects your Group’s Members

Many entities choose to file an amicus brief when the outcome of the case directly affects their members. An amicus brief will allow you to speak to the appellate court on the subject matter at hand. You can advise the court on how a specific ruling on the case will affect your members and the organization that you’re a part of. You can also highlight the potential legal, economic or social implications of a particular ruling, including telling the court about the impact of a possible decision on an industry, or on individuals or groups. And an amicus brief can explain why a particular holding by the court might be unworkable in other situations. You would do this to help the court understand the real-world consequences of a particular decision.

3) You Have Expert Knowledge on the Subject

Another common reason to file an amicus brief is that you have extensive knowledge of a subject, and you want everyone to share that. Your goal would also be to make the court privy to this knowledge by educating the judges. This type of brief is usually reserved for field experts and academics who can bring experience to the table.

4) You Want to Raise a Person’s Profile

For those who are experts or academics in a particular field, amicus briefs are a great way to get your name out there. Filing an amicus brief lets many people know that you have expert capabilities in an area and that you’re available as an expert witness on the subject. Ideally, you’d also be trying to educate the court on the subject matter while furthering your community profile on that subject matter.

5) You Want to Educate the Court

Non-profits also find amicus briefs are a great way to educate the court about specific issues. These organizations tend to have particular world views on certain subjects that they’ve studied extensively. When a court’s decision may end up affecting a non-profit institution, or their goals, for example, the organization may file an amicus brief.

6) It’s a Great Marketing Tool

I can’t talk about filing amicus briefs without sharing their excellent marketing potential. When utilized correctly, this type of brief can display you and your organization in light of how much you care about a specific issue. It can also demonstrate your ability to take action. These briefs are perfect for those looking to receive some positive press coverage, particularly from a high-profile case.

Motion for Leave to File

Different appellate courts have their own rules regarding amicus brief filings. Many require you to file a motion for leave to file such a brief, for instance. This document shares your interest in the case and why your brief would provide the court with useful information and help the jurists make their ultimate decision. That’s why it’s critical to check the rules of the appellate court before filing an amicus brief.

Contents of an Amicus Brief

An appellate court may receive a great many amicus briefs for a specific case. Therefore, in most jurisdictions, they tend to have a unified format for ease of reading. For instance, most such briefs will need to have all of the following components:

A Cover Page that indicates reversal or affirmance
A Table of Contents
A Table of Authorities
A Statement of Identity, interest, and source of authority of the filer
A Statement disclosing any party who financially contributed to the brief

Tone and Style are Important

In addition to all the usual hallmarks of any good appellate brief, the purpose and relevance of an amicus brief must be readily apparent from the first page. When I was a justice on the Georgia Supreme Court, if a cursory review of the brief suggested it was merely duplicative of a party brief, I, and most of my colleagues, tended to ignore it.

The tone of the brief is also important. Amicus briefs should use an even, objective tone. After all, they are supposed to aid the court make a good decision, not advocate for a party.

Lastly, but certainly not least, brevity is critical. In most cases, an amicus brief can achieve its purpose in far fewer pages or words than the applicable rules provide. An amicus brief that is only as long as the space needed to accomplish a particular goal is always going to be appreciated by busy judges.


Rule 37. Brief for an Amicus Curiae

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  • 1. An amicus curiae brief that brings to the attention of the Court relevant matter not already brought to its attention by the parties may be of considerable help to the Court. An amicus curiae brief that does not serve this purpose burdens the Court, and its filing is not favored. An amicus curiae brief may be filed only by an attorney admitted to practice before this Court as provided in Rule 5.
  • 2. (a) An amicus curiae brief submitted before the Court’s consideration of a petition for a writ of certiorari, motion for leave to file a bill of complaint, jurisdictional statement, or petition for an extraordinary writ, may be filed if if it reflects that the written consent of all parties as been provided, or if the Court grants leave to file under subparagraph 2(b) of this Rule. An amicus curiae brief in support of a petitioner or appellant shall be filed within 30 days after the case is placed on the docket or a response is called for by the Court, whichever is later, and that time will not be extended. An amicus curiae brief in support of a motion of a plaintiff for leave to file a bill of complaint in an original action shall be filed within 60 days after the case is placed on the docket, and that time will not be extended. An amicus curiae brief in support of a respondent, an appellee, or a defendant shall be submitted within the time allowed for filing a brief in opposition or a motion to dismiss or affirm. An amicus curiae filing a brief under this subparagraph shall ensure that the counsel of record for all parties receive notice of its intention to file an amicus curiae brief at least 10 days prior to the due date for the amicus curiae brief, unless the amicus curiae brief is filed earlier than 10 days before the due date. Only one signatory to any amicus curiae brief filed jointly by more than one amicus curiae must timely notify the parties of its intent to file that brief. The amicus curiaebrief shall indicate that counsel of record received timely notice of the intent to file the brief under this Rule and shall specify whether consent was granted, and its cover shall identify the party supported. Only one signatory to an amicus curiae brief filed jointly by more than one amicus curiae must obtain consent of the parties to file that brief. A petitioner or respondent may submit to the Clerk a letter granting blanket consent to amicus curiae briefs, stating that the party consents to the filing of amicus curiae briefs in support of either or of neither party. The Clerk will note all notices of blanket consent on the docket.
    • (b) When a party to the case has withheld consent, a motion for leave to file an amicus curiae brief before the Court’s consideration of a petition for a writ of certiorari, motion for leave to file a bill of complaint, jurisdictional statement, or petition for an extraordinary writ may be presented to the Court. The motion, prepared as required by Rule 33.1 and as one document with the brief sought to be filed, shall be submitted within the time allowed for filing an amicus curiae brief, and shall indicate the party or parties who have withheld consent and state the nature of the movant’s interest. Such a motion is not favored.
  • 3. (a) An amicus curiae brief in a case before the Court for oral argument may be filed if it reflects that written consent of all parties has been provided, or if the Court grants leave to file under subparagraph 3(b) of this Rule. The brief shall be submitted within 7 days after the brief for the party supported is filed, or if in support of neither party, within 7 days after the time allowed for filing the petitioner’s or appellant’s brief. Motions to extend the time for filing an amicus curiae brief will not be entertained. The 10-day notice requirement of subparagraph 2(a) of this Rule does not apply to an amicus curiae brief in a case before the Court for oral argument. The amicus curiae brief shall specify whether consent was granted, and its cover shall identify the party supported or indicate whether it suggests affirmance or reversal. The Clerk will not file a reply brief for an amicus curiae, or a brief for an amicus curiae in support of, or in opposition to, a petition for rehearing. Only one signatory to an amicus curiae brief filed jointly by more than one amicus curiae must obtain consent of the parties to file that brief. A petitioner or respondent may submit to the Clerk a letter granting blanket consent to amicus curiae briefs, stating that the party consents to the filing of amicus curiae briefs in support of either or of neither party. The Clerk will note all notices of blanket consent on the docket.
    • (b) When a party to a case before the Court for oral argument has withheld consent, a motion for leave to file an amicus curiae brief may be presented to the Court. The motion, prepared as required by Rule 33.1 and as one document with the brief sought to be filed, shall be submitted within the time allowed for filing an amicus curiae brief, and shall indicate the party or parties who have withheld consent and state the nature of the movant’s interest.
  • 4. No motion for leave to file an amicus curiae brief is necessary if the brief is presented on behalf of the United States by the Solicitor General; on behalf of any agency of the United States allowed by law to appear before this Court when submitted by the agency’s authorized legal representative; on behalf of a State, Commonwealth, Territory, or Possession when submitted by its Attorney General; or on behalf of a city, county, town, or similar entity when submitted by its authorized law officer.
  • 5. A brief or motion filed under this Rule shall be accompanied by proof of service as required by Rule 29, and shall comply with the applicable provisions of Rules 2124, and 33.1 (except that it suffices to set out in the brief the interest of the amicus curiae, the summary of the argument, the argument, and the conclusion). A motion for leave to file may not exceed 1500 words. A party served with the motion may file an objection thereto, stating concisely the reasons for withholding consent; the objection shall be prepared as required by Rule 33.2.
  • 6. Except for briefs presented on behalf of amicus curiae listed in Rule 37.4, a brief filed under this Rule shall indicate whether counsel for a party authored the brief in whole or in part and whether such counsel or a party made a monetary contribution intended to fund the preparation or submission of the brief, and shall identify every person or entity, other than the amicus curiae, its members, or its counsel, who made such a monetary contribution to the preparation or submission of the brief. The disclosure shall be made in the first footnote on the first page of text.



Here are some US court cases on a number of issues including medical decisions affecting newborns, school exclusion, and exclusionary zoning of group homes to the rights of defendants charged in criminal cases. A selection of AAIDD’s amicus curiae briefs are presented here:


On Intellectual Disability (Mental Retardation) and the 8th Amendment’s Prohibition on Cruel and Unusual Punishment


On Diagnosis and Statutory Definition of Intellectual Disability (Mental Retardation)


On the Mandate for Integration in the Americans with Disabilities Act 


On Constitutionality of P&A Access 


On Due Process and the Standard of Reasonable Doubt


On Violations of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act


On Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) for Children with Disabilities


Abortion

Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. U.S. Food & Drug Administration

This case involved a challenge by the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine against the FDA’s approval of the abortion pill. At five different stages of the litigation, Ed Whelan filed amicus briefs on behalf of EPPC explaining that the so-called Comstock Act provisions, 18 U.S.C. §§ 1461 and 1462, prohibit sending abortion drugs by U.S. mail or by common carrier and that rebuts the contrived opinion by DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel on which the FDA relies. At the Supreme Court merits stage, Rachel N. Morrison and Eric Kniffin filed a brief on behalf of Democrats for Life of America, arguing that the FDA’s actions on mifepristone are part of the Biden administration’s and HHS’s pattern and practice to protect and expand access to abortion drugs in violation of federal and state law.

Center for Medical Progress v. National Abortion Federation

This case challenges a lower-court injunction blocking the Center for Medical Progress from releasing video and audio recordings it made while investigating the sale of fetal tissue procured from abortions. The court found that CMP had waived its First Amendment rights when it signed standard forms to attend NAF conferences. EPPC’s brief shows that in non-abortion contexts the Ninth Circuit has said that courts must “indulge every reasonable presumption against waiver of fundamental constitutional rights” and that plaintiffs like the National Abortion Federation must prove that waiver was “freely given” “by clear and compelling evidence.” The brief argues that the Ninth Circuit’s failure to use the same high standard here is another example of post-Dobbs “abortion distortion” and calls on the Supreme Court to hear this case and uphold CMP’s First Amendment rights.

Center for Medical Progress v. Planned Parenthood Federation of America

This case challenges a district court judgment granting Planned Parenthood $2 million in damages and $14 million in attorney’s fees because the Center for Medical Progress (“CMP”) published evidence that Planned Parenthood was involved in illegal and unethical conduct. EPPC’s brief shows that in non-abortion context, the very same court—the Ninth Circuit—has held that the First Amendment protects undercover journalist’s speech unless the plaintiff could prove the speech was false. The brief argues that the Ninth Circuit’s double-standard is an example of an “abortion distortion”: as Justice Scalia noted, courts had given “abortion-rights advocates a pass when it comes to suppressing the free-speech rights of their opponents,” creating “an entirely separate, abridged edition of the First Amendment applicable to speech against abortion.” EPPC’s brief urges the Supreme Court to hear this case and uphold CMP’s First Amendment right to free speech.

Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization

This case successfully overturned Roe v. Wade and clarified that there is no federal constitutional right to abortion. Three Supreme Court amicus briefs were filed by EPPC and its scholars. First, EPPC filed an amicus brief arguing that stare decisis considerations cut overwhelmingly in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Second, Carter Snead filed an amicus brief with his colleague Mary Ann Glendon arguing against the constitutionality of previability abortions by appealing to abortion jurisprudence’s alienation from the text, history, or tradition of the US Constitution, considers stare decisis principles in justifying the overturn of Roe v. Wade, and positively argues for the essential unconstitutionality of elective abortion because of its unwarranted effect on an indisputably human life. Third, Erika Bachiochi partnered with law professors Terra Collett and Helen Alvaré to lead a brief on behalf of 240 women scholars and professionals, including EPPC fellows Mary FioRito and Mary Rice Hasson, and prolife feminist organizations, rejecting the idea that women need access to abortion to participate equally in the economic or social life in the nation.

Tennessee v. U.D. Department of Health and Human Services

This case involves a challenge by the state of Tennessee to HHS’s rescission of Tennessee’s Title X funding solely because the state will not counsel and refer for abortions that are illegal under state law. Rachel N. Morrison and Eric Kniffin filed an amicus brief on behalf of EPPC in support of Tennessee, arguing that HHS’s action is part of the Biden administration’s pattern and practice to unilaterally promote its abortion-at-all-costs agenda and preempt state abortion laws in violation of federal law and contrary to the Supreme Court’s direction in Dobbs to return the issue of abortion “to the people and their elected representatives.”

Vitagliano v. County of Westchester, New York

This case challenges a county ordinance that prohibits sidewalk counselors from within eight feet of anyone near an abortion clinic without express consent. The law was passed five days after the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision and is materially identical to a state law the Supreme Court upheld in Hill v. Colorado (2000), a decision that liberal scholar Laurence Tribe called “slam-dunk wrong.” Eric Kniffin and EPPC filed an amicus brief highlighting the close cooperation between Planned Parenthood and Westchester County and urging the Court to overturn Hill as one of the most egregious examples of how abortion politics has distorted the Court’s free speech jurisprudence.

Animal Cruelty

National Pork Producers Council v. Ross

This case narrowly weighs the permissibility of constrictive “gestation crates” on industrial pig farms and more broadly considers whether the restriction of such practices through ballot measures like Proposition 12 in California imposes an undue burden on producers. Carter Snead, along with social commentator Mary Eberstadt and Matthew Scully of National Review, filed an amicus brief arguing that a basic respect and decency toward animals is consistent with the deep tradition of Western thought, and this legitimate moral interest can be articulated by legislation like Proposition 12, which thus does not unduly restrict industry practices and the market at large.

Contraceptive Mandate

Zubik v. Burwell and Priests for Life v. HHS

This case involved a legal challenge by the Little Sisters of the Poor and the other religious nonprofits to the Obama administration’s so-called “accommodation” on its HHS contraceptive mandate. EPPC filed an amicus brief showing specifically that the Obama administration’s rules fail to satisfy the strict-scrutiny test imposed by the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby

This case involved religious-liberty challenges to the Obama administration’s HHS mandate on contraceptives. EPPC filed a brief addressing, and thoroughly refuting, the Obama administration’s claim that for-profit corporations are inherently incapable of an “exercise of religion” for purposes of the protections afforded by the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.

Free Speech

Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Scardina

This case began when an activist attorney tried to force Jack Phillips and Masterpiece Cakeshop to create a custom cake symbolizing a gender transition. After the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled that Phillips’ refusal to create the cake violated Colorado’s nondiscrimination law, he appealed to the Colorado Supreme Court. Eric Kniffin filed an amicus brief that surveys First Amendment precedent to explain why creating a custom cake of this nature constitutes speech and why the government therefore cannot punish Jack Phillips for refusing to use his talents to celebrate a gender transition.

Archdiocese of Washington v. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority

The case involved a challenge to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) refusal to run the Archdiocese of Washington’s proposed Advent campaign advertisement. EPPC filed an amicus brief in support of the Archdiocese of Washington arguing that WMATA’s refusal violated the First Amendment.

Center for Medical Progress v. National Abortion Federation

See the entry under Abortion.

Center for Medical Progress v. Planned Parenthood Federation of America

See the entry under Abortion.

Vitagliano v. County of Westchester, New York

See the entry under Abortion.

“Gender Transition” Interventions

C.P. ex rel. Pritchard v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois

This case asks a court to hold that the Affordable Care Act requires a Catholic hospital’s third-party administrator to provide “gender transition” coverage for minors in its health plan. The district court agreed with the plaintiffs, but EPPC’s amicus brief, filed by Eric Kniffin and Mary Hasson, argues that the court got it wrong. Drawing on the Person & Identity Project’s research, the brief argues that one of plaintiffs’ central claims—that “gender-affirming care” is “medically necessary” under well-established “standards of care”—is demonstrably false. The brief summarizes current research and documents the growing international consensus that these medical interventions cause more harm than good. The final section of the brief summarizes two recent developments, the WPATH Files and the Cass Review, that reflect the mounting evidence that “gender transitions” are not in children’s best interests.

State of Texas v. Loe

This case involves a challenge to a Texas law that prohibits physicians and other licensed medical professionals from performing gender transition procedures on minors and restricts the use of public money or public assistance to pay for such procedures. Mary Rice Hasson, Eric Kniffin, and Rachel N. Morrison filed an amicus brief in the Texas Supreme Court explaining that performing “gender transitions” on minors reflects “neither a medical consensus nor the standard of care.” The brief presents current research and surveys state, federal, and international actions to demonstrate that there “is not today, nor has there ever been, a national or international medical consensus in favor of permanent medical interventions on children experiencing gender dysphoria.”

Christian Healthcare Centers v. Nessel (Michigan Civil Rights Commission)

This case involves a First Amendment challenge by Christian Healthcare Centers to prohibit Michigan from punishing the Centers for ensuring that its employees and its patient care reflect its religious anthropology, which prohibit it from cooperating with an employee’s or patient’s “gender transition.”

The trial court found that the Center did not facing a credible threat of enforcement and therefore lacked standing. On appeal, Eric Kniffin and Mary Rice Hasson filed an amicus brief on behalf of EPPC arguing that the Center has standing.  Drawing on research by EPPC’s Person & Identity Project, the brief shows that is reasonable for a healthcare institution to decline to participate in social or medical “gender transitions.” The brief also shows that other courts in nearly identical circumstances have found that religious organizations have standing and argues that the lower court’s standing analysis would make it far too easy for government to violate people’s fundamental rights.

Damiano v. Grants Pass School District No. 7

This case was brought by two Oregon educators who were suspended and then terminated by their school district after they started a grassroots movement, “I Resolve,” to speak out on the district’s policy of socially transitioning kids without parents’ notice or consent. Eric Kniffin and Mary Rice Hasson filed an amicus brief on behalf of EPPC urging the court to reverse the decision below, which granted summary judgment in the district’s favor. Drawing on the Person & Identity Project’s research, the brief argues that the plaintiffs’ advocacy reflects the best social science on how to care for youth identifying as transgender; it is not, as the lower court claimed, “anti-Trans.” The brief also argues that the district’s policy violates parents’ constitutional rights and offers testimony from parents whose public schools had clandestinely pushed their children to socially transition.

Mahmoud v. Montgomery County (MD) Board of Education [Mahmoud v. McKnight]

This case was brought by parents of children enrolled in Montgomery County Public Schools after the School Board denied parents’ request to opt their children out of the Board’s new sexuality and gender curriculum. Eric Kniffin and Mary Rice Hasson filed an amicus brief on behalf of EPPC urging the court to grant the parents’ motion for an injunction pending their appeal. They filed an expanded version of the same brief in support of the parents’ appeal on the merits. EPPC’s amicus brief argues that the district court improperly downplayed the conflict between the curriculum and their religious exercise. It shows that the curriculum does more than teach “diversity” and “inclusion”: it teaches elementary school kids that boys can become girls and to say otherwise is “hurtful,” and the Board likened objecting religious parents to white supremacists and xenophobes. The brief demonstrates that the curriculum is in light with the gender ideology movement and, drawing upon EPPC’s Person & Identity Project, shows that gender ideology is fundamentally incompatible with Christian anthropology and Catholic teaching.

Littlejohn v. School Board of Leon County, Florida

This case was brought by Florida parents after school district officials secretly met with their middle school daughter to develop a “gender support plan” that let her choose what name, pronouns, and restrooms she would use, and with what sex she would be housed on overnight trips. Eric Kniffin filed an amicus brief arguing that the school’s actions violated the parents’ constitutional rights and telling the story of nine members of Our Duty, a nonprofit that helps parents protect their children from the dangers of gender ideology. The parents’ stories “show that school officials can get diagnoses terribly wrong, ignoring critical mental health issues in favor of a trendy diagnosis that . . . could permanently sterilize and disfigure minor children.”

Tingley v. Ferguson

This case involves a legal challenge to a Washington state law that effectively mandates that therapists serving minors use a “gender-affirmation-only” approach and that denies effective psychotherapy to minors seeking psychological help to explore alternative pathways, including the possibility of desisting from a transgender identity. Mary Rice Hasson and EPPC President Ryan T. Anderson filed an amicus brief urging the court to consider the serious ethical concerns surrounding the law, which effectively mandates a “gender-affirmation-only” approach and denies effective psychotherapy to minors seeking psychological help to explore alternative pathways, including the possibility of desisting from a transgender identity.

Dekker v. Weida

This case involves a legal challenge to Florida’s rule prohibiting state Medicaid dollars from funding “gender transition interventions,” including harmful and irreversible cross-sex hormones and surgeries for children. Eric Kniffin and Mary Rice Hasson filed an amicus brief on behalf of EPPC that draws upon the work of the Person & Identity Project to explain that there is no medical consensus regarding an authoritative standard of care for gender dysphoria or transitioning treatments and that such treatments can lead to serious harms, especially for children. Eric Kniffin also submitted another amicus brief on behalf of three “detransitioners” Walt Heyer, Ted Halley, and Billy Burleigh—biological males who suffered deep confusion and distress regarding his gender identity from an early age—sharing how each went through the medical “gender transition” process but found that transitioning did not make them happy or solve their confusion and depression. A third amicus brief was filed on behalf of former civil rights officials, including Rachel N. Morrison, and drew heavily from EPPC’s public comment submitted in opposition to HHS’s proposed Section 1557 rule, explaining that Section 1557 does not require Medicaid funding for gender transition intervention and any holding to the contrary would radically remake American healthcare and harm children.

American College of Pediatricians v. Becerra

This case involves a legal challenge to an HHS “gender identity mandate,” which under the guise of nondiscrimination, requires healthcare professionals’ performance, insurance coverage, and promotion of “gender-transition interventions” (puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgeries), including for children. Rachel N. Morrison, Mary Rice Hasson, and Eric Kniffin filed an amicus brief explaining that there is no medical consensus regarding an authoritative standard of care for the treatment of gender dysphoria or for the proper evaluation of the risks and benefits of medically assisted “gender transitions,” and that gender-transition interventions can lead to significant and irreversible harms, especially for minors.

Eknes-Tucker v. Alabama

This case involves a legal challenge to an Alabama law that protects children from harmful and irreversible “gender transition” treatments (puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgeries). Rachel N. Morrison and Mary Rice Hasson filed an amicus brief explaining there is no medical consensus regarding an authoritative standard of care for gender dysphoria or transitioning treatments and that such treatments can lead to serious harms, especially for children.

Franciscan Alliance v. Becerra

This case involves a legal challenge to HHS’s “transgender mandate,” which under the guise of nondiscrimination, requires healthcare professionals to perform and provide insurance coverage for “gender-transition interventions” (puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgeries), including for children. Rachel N. Morrison and Mary Rice Hasson filed an amicus brief explaining there is no medical consensus regarding an authoritative standard of care for gender dysphoria, gender transition interventions are harmful, especially for children, and no healthcare organization or professional should be forced to provide harmful gender transition interventions in violation of their medical judgments and religious beliefs.

Doe v. Madison Metropolitan School District

This case involves a legal challenge to the Madison School District’s transgender policy of keeping secret from parents that their children are “transitioning” at school if parents might not provide a “safe” or “supportive” environment, as determined by school personnel and the child. EPPC joined the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, Concerned Women for America, the National Legal Foundation, the Pacific Justice Institute, and several state-level policy organizations, to file an amicus brief arguing that the policy violates the fundamental right so parents to care for and educate their children by depriving them of relevant information and also violates the procedural due process rights of parents by assuming that “unsupportive” parents are negligent or abusive.

Marriage

Hollingsworth v. Perry and Perry v. Schwarzenegger

This case involved a legal challenge to California’s Proposition 8, which added a new section to the state constitution that stated, “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” EPPC President Ed Whelan submitted two amicus briefs on behalf of EPPC. Both documented the egregious course of misconduct by the district judge below to inform the court to the fact that it should be especially wary of accepting at face value any assertion made by that judge, and the second explained that, if the court is not inclined to reverse the judgment below outright (the disposition we believe to be correct), it should exercise its supervisory power to vacate the judgments below in their entirety.

Religious Freedom

Apache Stronghold v. United States

This case began after Congress gave a private corporation the right to mine the area under Oak Flat, a sacred site for the Western Apache. The parties agree that the mining operation will turn Oak Flat into a two-mile-wide, 1,100-foot-deep crater. Apache Stronghold brought suit claiming that the government’s actions violate its rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). But the court dismissed the lawsuit because it found that destroying Oak Flat, which Western Apache have used for religious ceremonies for over 2000 years, would not substantially burden the plaintiffs’ religious exercise. EPPC’s amicus brief urges the entire Ninth Circuit to rehear the case to right this wrong. Part one of the brief argues that the court should not have allowed its concerns about speculative harms to infect its substantial burden analysis under RFRA. Part two argues that the powerful facts of this case undermine any concern that finding for the Apache here would make it too hard for the government to manage federal land in the future.

Garrick v. Moody Bible Institute

This case involves whether religious organizations, such as Moody Bible Institute, can immediately appeal church autonomy determinations before a final decision on the merits. A Seventh Circuit panel held that they could not. An amicus brief was filed in support of rehearing en banc on behalf of Rachel N. Morrison as a former attorney at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and an expert in religious nondiscrimination and former EEOC General Counsel Sharon Fast Gustafson. The brief explained how the Seventh Circuit panel’s decision will encourage greater EEOC involvement in religious employment disputes at the expense of constitutional protections, which in turn will impose heavy burdens on religious organizations and inevitably lead to greater governmental entanglement with religion.

Faith Bible Chapel International v. Tucker

This case involves procedural questions regarding protections for religious organizations under the First Amendment’s “ministerial exception.” Two Supreme Court amicus briefs were filed, one by EPPC and one on behalf of Rachel N. Morrison as a former attorney at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and an expert in religious nondiscrimination and former EEOC General Counsel Sharon Fast Gustafson. EPPC’s brief urged the court to clarify further the protections afforded by the ministerial exception and to give practical guidance on how those protections affect the procedure for applying the doctrine. Rachel Morrison’s brief explained how the Tenth Circuit’s holding invites EEOC intrusion into religious matters and threatens to erode the First Amendment protections of religious organizations.

Groff v. DeJoy

This case involves the proper legal standard for when employees should receive religious accommodations in the workplace. Rachel N. Morrison filed two Supreme Court amicus briefs on behalf of herself as a former EEOC employee and an expert on religious accommodations and former General Counsel of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Sharon Fast Gustafson, arguing that Title VII provides vital religious accommodation protections and requires a higher standard than the more than a de minimis cost standard for denying religious accommodation requests.

Dr. A. v. Hochul

This case involves a legal challenge by medical professionals to the lack of religious exemptions in New York’s vaccine mandate for health care workers. Rachel N. Morrison filed three amicus briefs on behalf of herself as a former EEOC employee and an expert on religious accommodations and former General Counsel of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Sharon Fast Gustafson, explaining Title VII’s religious accommodation standard and why New York’s mandate conflicts with Title VII.

Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru and St. James School v. Biel

This case involves whether teachers at two catholic schools qualify as “ministers” under the First Amendment’s “ministerial exception.” EPPC filed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to adopt procedural protections in support of the ministerial exception.

Rule of Law

The School of the Ozarks, Inc. v. Biden

This case involved whether the College of the Ozarks can sue the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) over a Directive ordering HUD to enforce sex discrimination in housing to include discrimination because of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” Rachel N. Morrison and Eric Kniffin partnered with the Cato Institute to lead a Supreme Court amicus brief, which was joined by the National Federation of Independent Business Small Business Legal Center, Inc., Reason Foundation, Taxpayers Protection Alliance, and Manhattan Institute. The brief explained the importance of the procedural requirements of notice-and-comment rulemaking and of protecting the public’s right to participate in the agency rulemaking process and preserving the opportunity to help shape public policy.

Wisconsin v. Peterson

This case involves a secretive investigation targeting Governor Scott Walker and his allies. EPPC filed a brief explaining how the reported basis of the secret motion by a special prosecutor to disqualify the state supreme court justices who might put an end to the witch hunt is thoroughly unsound.

 

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