Use of extra-legal sources in amicus curiae briefs submitted in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin

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Abstract

As the political arena becomes increasingly polarized, the legal arena is playing a more important role in the creation of education policy in the United States. One critical stage in the legal process for such efforts is at briefing where “amici curiae,” or friends-of-the-court, may introduce additional arguments for the court to consider through the filing of amicus curiae briefs. To explore the use of extra-legal sources by amici, we focus on the 2013 U.S. Supreme Court case Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin and ask the questions: 1) What are the types, and relative use by amici, of extra-legal sources cited in the briefs submitted in Fisher I? and 2) What is the relative use of extra-legal sources cited in amicus briefs by supporting party and by category of amici? Our findings reveal the wide-range of extra-legal sources used in amicus briefs, and that the type of extra-legal sources incorporated may be associated with who the amici are and which party they support. Ultimately, we discuss potential reasons for the differences observed in the use of extra-legal sources and offer recommendations to more effectively engage in the policy briefing process.

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How to Cite
Marin, P., Horn, C. L., Miksch, K., Garces, L. M., & Yun, J. T. (2018). Use of extra-legal sources in amicus curiae briefs submitted in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 26, 38. https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.26.2823
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Author Biographies

Patricia Marin, Michigan State University

Patricia Marin is Assistant Professor in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education (HALE) in the Department of Educational Administration at Michigan State University. Her work bridges issues of access, equity, diversity, and policy in higher education. Current research projects include an examination of research use within the law; the changing nature of Hispanic Serving Institutions; and diversity in graduate classrooms.

Catherine L. Horn, University of Houston

Catherine L. Horn is Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and Executive Director of the Institute for Educational Policy Research and Evaluation at the University of Houston. Her research interests include the systemic barriers to college access for traditionally underrepresented students, K–12 high stakes testing, college admission policy, research use, and quantitative methods.

Karen Miksch, University of Minnesota

Karen Miksch is Associate Professor of Higher Education and Law at the University of Minnesota. Her research focuses on access to higher education and the legal gatekeepers that impede the transition to college. Prior to becoming a faculty member, she was a civil rights attorney.

Liliana M. Garces, University of Texas at Austin

Liliana M. Garces is Associate Professor at the University of Texas at Austin and Affiliate Faculty at the University of Texas School of Law. Her scholarship, focused on the dynamics of law and educational policy, examines access, diversity, and equity policies for underserved populations in higher education and the use and influence of research in law. 

John T. Yun, Michigan State University

John T. Yun is Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Administration at Michigan State University. His research focuses on issues of equity in education, including persistence in higher education, patterns of school segregation, the effect of poverty and opportunity on educational outcomes, the educative/counter-educative impacts of high-stakes testing, and the power of evaluation to impact policy and practice.