There Are Amicus Briefs And Then There Is This One

Amicus briefs are intended to be a way for interested parties to point out relevant aspects of the law to the judges or justices hearing a case. In the Second Amendment realm, the pro-2A amicus briefs come from the NRA, the Second Amendment Foundation, GOA, or other groups or individuals interested in securing the right to keep and bear arms. Conversely, the amicus briefs from those who take a more restrictive view would come from the Brady Campaign, the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, and others of their ilk. All of these briefs tend to cite relevant law pro or con to support their arguments. Even the best written of them tend to be, to put it politely, boring.

But what about in other constitutional realms? They, too, tend to be boring. Thus, the brief submitted by the Cato Institute and P. J. O’Rourke in support of the petitioners in the case of Susan B. Anthony List, et al v. Steven Driehaus, et al stands out. It is, frankly, a hoot to read. While ostensibly written by Ilya Shapiro of the Cato Institute, one gets the feeling that it was heavily edited by P. J. O’Rourke. How else could you explain the first footnote?

Pursuant to this Court’s Rule 37.3(a), letters of consent
from all parties to the filing of this brief have been submitted to
the Clerk. Pursuant to this Court’s Rule 37.6,
state that
this brief was not authored in whole or in part by counsel for
any party, and that no person or entity other than
made a
monetary contribution its preparation or submission. Also,
and their counsel, family members, and pets have all won
the Congressional Medal of Honor.

That sets the tone for the rest of the brief which speaks to such things as truthiness. Included are such gems as the following:

  • After all, where would we be without the
    knowledge that Democrats are pinko-communist
    flag-burners who want to tax churches and use the
    money to fund abortions so they can use the fetal
    stem cells to create pot-smoking lesbian ATF agents
    who will steal all the guns and invite the UN to take
    over America?

  • Driehaus voted for Obamacare, which the Susan B.
    Anthony List said was the equivalent of voting for taxpayer-
    funded abortion.Amici
    are unsure how true the allegation is given that the healthcare law seems to change daily, but it
    certainly isn’t as truthy as calling a mandate a tax.

  • It is thus apparently illegal in
    Ohio for an outraged member of the public to call a
    politician a Nazi or a Communist—or a Communist
    for that matter. That is no exaggeration: the
    law criminalizes a misstatement made in “campaign
    materials,” which includes “public speeches.”

  • Even in the absence of the First Amendment, no
    government agency could do a better job policing
    political honesty than the myriad personalities and
    entities who expose charlatans, mock liars, lambaste
    arrogance, and unmask truthiness for a living.

  • Politicians who are caught lying about
    themselves or others regularly attract more attention
    from the press than the subject of the original lie.
    The typical outcome is that the lie or cover up
    becomes more important than the original accusation
    or offense. And that dynamic predates smartphones
    and their latest “apps.” The impeachment of
    President Clinton was not based on any sexual
    activities he might have engaged in with Monica
    Lewinsky, but over the attempt to cover it up.
    Similarly, President Nixon’s resignation was
    prompted by his obfuscations rather than his
    orchestration of a third-rate burglary. And if this
    Court isn’t yet convinced of this point, amici have
    but two words more on the subject: Anthony Weiner.

Read the whole thing and make sure you read the footnootes. You just have to wonder who is laughing harder – the law clerks or the justices of the Supreme Court.

5 thoughts on “There Are Amicus Briefs And Then There Is This One”

  1. EmilyJacob: I take your post as a jab. If so, I know more about the law than you know about grammar.

    But that was a cheap shot on my part. Everyone makes mistakes. Even immigration lawyers who offer services to 'displaced' illegals in the USA who want to use some tangential relationship with a citizen to bootstrap themselves into legal residence.

    Not that there is anything wrong with that. It's just that your firm's website is one step below the ambulance chaser billboards I see on the highways. So I don't put you in the category of "attorneys likely to need entry to the Supreme Court Bar".

    Not that it matters. The law is for the people, not for the lawyers. If we cannot read it, then we need to dispense with the guild that ruined it and start anew. The law is not the domain of lawyers, unless you desire it only apply to you.


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