Friends of the First Amendment? Amicus Curiae Briefs in Free Speech/Press Cases During the Warren and Burger Courts
Colorado State University - Department of Journalism and Technical Communication
Hawaii Pacific University
Journal of Media Law & Ethics, Vol. 1, Nos. 1 & 2, Winter/Spring 2009
This study, relying upon a pre-existing data set compiled by other researchers, quantitatively examines the trends and effect of amicus curiae brief filing in free speech/press cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in the years between 1953 and 1986. Out of 4,441 cases analyzed in this study, 181 cases were in the free speech/press topic area, and 124 of them had at least one amicus brief filed. The study findings demonstrate general trends in the filing and outcome of the cases; general trends of amicus curiae brief filing in free speech/press cases; the influence of amicus curiae briefs indicated in the Court opinion and indicated in litigation success; the most active participants of amicus brief filing in free speech/press cases; and the top ten free speech/press cases with the most number of amicus curiae briefs. This study suggests that various media organizations and civil rights groups would be wise to continue to engage in amicus curiae filings in free speech/press cases to defend First Amendment freedoms.
Keywords: Amicus Curiae, U.S. Supreme Court, First Amendment
Date posted: April 18, 2010