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“Friend of the court” brief submitted by a person or group not a party to the case, but with a strong interest in the matter. The amicus curiae brief can be submitted on behalf of the petitioner or respondent, or on behalf of neither in situations where the amicus seeks to put forward knowledge or information pertinent to the case. Amicus briefs may be submitted during both the petition stage and the merit stage of a case.
The petitioner (appellant) is the party who petitions the Supreme Court to review the case. Briefs filed by the petitioner put forth the legal case concerning the issue on which the Court granted review and may also respond to the other party’s position. The initial brief putting forth the legal position is the Petition for Writ of Certiorari (PWC) which asks the higher court to review a lower court decision. Typically less than 5% of the PWCs are granted.
All case names before the Court are styled Petitioner v. Respondent.
Supreme Court Insight includes three “case characterization” options to help researchers narrow their results.
Searches can be limited to these characterizations by using the checkbox on the Advanced search or by using the post-search filter.
Submitted according to Court rules by the petitioner following the granting of the petition for writ of certiorari. The appendix includes relevant docket entries from the lower courts; relevant pleadings, jury instructions, findings, conclusions, and opinions; the decision, judgment, or opinion under review; and any other information the petitioner or the respondent wish to bring to the Court’s attention.
If the required information is already included as part of the Petition for Writ of Certiorari (PWC) or the PWC appendix, it does not need to be reprinted in the joint appendix. The joint appendix table of contents, provided as a separate PDF with the full joint appendix, is a good place for the researcher to look to determine the availability of lower court information, as it may point to the page within the appendix where the specific information is located or direct the user to the PWC.
Not all histories will have a Joint Appendix; since are will be sealed (and therefore not included), and in other instances, the parties waive the right to file.
Landmark Cases - Cases of historical and legal significance which may establish a new legal principle or concept or otherwise substantially change the interpretation of existing law.
Examples of topics of historical significance include abortion law, freedom of speech issues, right to die, separation of church and state, affirmative action, religious freedom, racial discrimination, sex discrimination, terrorism, presidential powers, due process, campaign finance, and powers of Congress.
The opinions included are all slip opinions. When a case is decided, the court initially issues a bench opinion which may be edited before it is sent to the printer as the “slip opinion.” The bench opinion and slip opinion contain the same elements, but the slip opinion may include corrections. Once the opinion is published officially, the U.S. Reports citation is added to our Supreme Court Case History to allow users to retrieve the case by searching by the official citation from the Search by Number form.
Note that the post-search opinions filter allows users to filter for per curiam case opinions.
Harmonized subject indexing allow both novice and sophisticated users to locate cases in an area of interest.
Compilation of all documents filed for a specific Supreme Court case, including dockets, petition and merit stage briefs, joint appendices, oral arguments, and opinions. Each history summarizes the key elements of the case, which may include questions presented, questions heard, the ruling, case details (petitioner, respondent, court of origin, key dates, case characteristics etc.), vote and opinion information, and hyperlinked subject terms. Precise filtering options allow you to customize each case history to meet your research needs. The default history is organized by stages, but the display can be changed to a straight chronological sort.