Successful Cert Amici 2014

With 7,006 cases disposed of during the 2014 Supreme Court term, Supreme Court Justices and clerks had an abundance of cases on their plates.  One way that the Justices and clerks find their way to the more important cases (specifically to cases that are important to people beyond the individual parties in the case) is through the submission of amicus briefs at the cert stage.  These briefs are risky for the amici as there is no guarantee the Court will ever hear the case.  They do, however, signal the importance of the case and enhance the likelihood that the Court will grant cert.

In 2014 amicus briefs were filed prior to a decision on cert in 177 cases.  The total number of amicus briefs filed prior to cert was 403.  Of these 177 cases with amicus filings at the cert stage, cert was granted in 31 or almost 18%.  This is far better than the approximate 1% of all petitions and 5% or so of paid petitions that were granted.  This post looks at the law firms, groups, and attorneys that filed amicus curiae briefs at the cert stage during the 2014 Term which were associated with cert grants (and thus that achieved the objective of these briefs).

First to the attorneys.  Some regular amici have staff attorneys draft amicus brief while others hire outside counsel.  Only three attorneys hired as outside counsel were on amicus briefs in multiple cases that were granted cert.  These three are John P. Elwood (Vinson & Elkins), Steffen Johnson (Winson & Strawn), and David B. Rivkin Jr. (Baker & Hostetler LLP).  Of the three only Elwood and Johnson wrote briefs for multiple parties (both of Rivkin’s briefs were for the Cato Institute).

Other attorneys with amicus briefs in multiple cases granted cert include Aaron D. Lindstrom (Solicitor General of Michigan), and Steven J. Lechner who was on three such briefs for Mountain States Legal.

In terms of private law firms, there were also several whose attorneys wrote amicus briefs in multiple cases granted cert.  Two firms had three such amicus briefs but only one, Gibson Dunn and Crutcher, had briefs from three different attorneys (Theodore B. Olson, Prerak Shah (now an Assistant Solicitor General in Texas), and Theodore J. Boutrous Jr).  The other firm, Winston & Strawn had the two briefs from Johnson as well as one from Andrew Nichols.  Several firms also had two such briefs.  Vinson & Elkins had Elwood’s two briefs and Baker & Hostetler had Rivkin’s two briefs.  Wiley Rein LLP also had two briefs in successful cases – one from Thomas R. McCarthy (now at Consovoy McCarthy) and one from Bert Rein.

In terms of amicus parties/groups (excluding the United States), the most successful was the Cato Institute that submitted four amicus briefs in cases granted cert.  Pacific Legal Foundation and Mountain States Legal Foundation submitted three such briefs each as did the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (whose include one of Elwood’s briefs).  Judicial Watch had two such briefs, as did Texas and Michigan (per Lindstrom) who were the named states on two briefs each as well.

Below are lists of the attorneys, firms, and parties for OT 2014 with one cert stage amicus brief in cases later granted cert:


Adam W. Aston
Andrew C. Nichols
Ashley C. Parrish
Barbara D. Underwood
Bert W. Rein
Bradley A. Benbrook
Bradley S. Phillips
Charles J. Cooper
Chris Fedeli
Courtney J. Linn
Cristina Alonso
D. Christopher Lauderdale
David C. Boyle
David L. Applegate
David P. Felsher
David T. Goldberg
Deborah J. La Fetra
Dustin M. Howell
Edwin S. Kneedler
Elbert Lin
Gene C. Schaerr
Gene Clayton Schaerr
Helen Hecht
Ilya Shapiro
J. Campbell Barker
James M. Manley
James S. Burling
James Van Carson
James W. Wimberly Jr.
Jessica Ring Amunson
John C. Eastman
John F. Bash
Jonathan F. Mitchell
Joshua P. Thompson
Laura Patrice Chiasson
Lawrence J. Fox
Lawrence J. Joseph
Luke Anthony Wake
Mailee R. Smith
Mark L. Rienzi
Meir Feder
Milton Allen Miller
Patrick J. Wright
Patrick R. Wyrick
Paul M. Thompson
Peter J. Ferrara
Peter N. Kirsanow
Philip S. Goldberg
Prerak Shah
Quin M. Sorenson
Rae T. Vann
Raymond J. LaJeunesse Jr.
Richard A. Samp
Richard Thompson
Robert L. Byer
Seth P. Waxman
Shannon Lee Goessling
Stephen M. Crampton
Tejinder Singh
Theodore B. Olson
Theodore J. Boutrous Jr.
Thomas R. McCarthy
William J. Olson
William M. Jay


Firms and Law Practices:

Benbrook Law Group, PC
Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP
Carlton, Fields, Jorden, Burt, P.A.
Cooper & Kirk, PLLC
Donahue & Goldberg, LLP
Duane Morris, LLP
Goldstein & Russell, P.C.
Goldwater Institute
Goodwin Procter LLP
Jackson Lewis, PC
Jenner & Block LLP
Jones Day
King & Spalding LLP
Latham & Watkins LLP
Law Offices of Gene C. Schaerr
McDermott Will & Emery LLP
Munger Tolles & Olson LLP
NT Lakis, LLP
Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
Shook Hardy & Bacon LLP
Sidley Austin LLP
Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP
William J.Olson, P.C.
Williams Montgomery & John Ltd.
Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Wimberly Lawson Steckel Schneider & Stine PC
Yetter Coleman LLP


Parties and Groups:

Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, et al.
 Choose Life Wisconsin, Inc., et al.
 Election Law Professors
 Fifteen Religious and Civil Rights Organizations
 Murray Energy Corporation
 National Federation of Independent Business Small Business Legal Center, et al.
 The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty
 The Colorado Union of Taxpayers Foundation, et al.
 The States of Arizona, et al.
76 Scholars of Marriage
American Civil Rights Union
American Legion
Associations of Criminal Defense Attorneys
California Association of Scholars
Campaign for Southern Equality and Equality Federation
Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence
Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom, et al.
Constitutional Law Professors, et al. filed.
Constitutional and Property Law Scholars
Delaware Division of the Public Advocate. et al.
DKT Liberty Project, and Eighteen Independent Raisin Grower
DRI – The Voice of the Defense Bar
Eagle Forum Education & Legal Defense Fund in support of neither party
Electricity Consumers and Demand Response Providers
Equal Employment Advisory Council
Ethics Bureau at Yale, et al.
Former California Governor Pete Wilson
Former Federal and State Judges
Fourteen Utilities Including Consolidated Edison Co. of New York and Affiliates
Gail Heriot and Peter Kirsanow, Members of the United States Commission on Civil Rights
Goldwater Institute
International Municipal Lawyers Association
Kaneland, Illinois Unified School District
Mackinac Center for Public Policy
Missouri Liberty Project, et al
Multistate Tax Commission
National Association of Manufacturers, et al.
National Right to Work Legal Defense Fund
National Veteran Small Business Coalition,
New York, et al.
Oklahoma, et al.
Pacific Research Institute, et al.
Robert Oscar Lopez, and B.N. Klein
Senators John Cornyn, et al.
Southeastern Legal Foundation
The Business Law Section of The Florida Bar
The National Chicken Council
The National Coalition of Black Pastors, and Christian Leaders
The Sentencing Project
The State Bar of Texas Bankruptcy Law Section
U.S. Poultry & Egg Association
Washington Legal Foundation
West Virginia and 43 Other States


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