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

Patricia Marin, Catherine L. Horn, Karen Miksch, Liliana M. Garces, John T. Yun


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.


research use; law; higher education

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