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POLS 313: American Constitutional Law: Civil Liberties & Civil Rights: Briefs & Petitions

U.S. Supreme Court Research

What is...?

Definitions provided with reference to U.S. Courts Glossary.

Brief - A written statement submitted in a trial or appellate proceeding that explains a particular side's legal and factual arguments.

Amicus curiae (brief) - Latin for "friend of the court." It is advice formally offered to the court in a brief filed by an entity interested in the case. It may have bearing on the case, but it has not been solicited by any party involved in the case itself.

Writ of certiorari (or simply "cert") - An order the U.S. Supreme Court issues directing the lower court to send records for a case that it will hear on appeal.

Petition - When a party wants the US Supreme Court to review their case, they will file a petition for a writ of certiorari with the Court. This petition is printed in a booklet format.

Brief Templates

Use the "Format for Attorney Amicus Briefs" template if you are an attorney representing an amicus group; Use "Format for Attorney Party Briefs" if you are an attorney representing the parties (petitioner or respondent) in the litigation. These documents were created by your professor for this assignment.

Finding Briefs & Petitions Online

Subject Guide