Friday, December 05, 2008

Cert Tips

Got a good cert candidate? Afraid of botching the petition? Then check out "Petitions for Certiorari: Understanding the Hidden Process", a brief article featuring the advice of the SCOTUS Chief Deputy Clerk, two experienced SCOTUS advocates, and a former SCOTUS clerk.

One interesting thing the article mentions (which is also discussed in this Slate essay highlighted at How Appealing) is the importance of amicus briefs at the cert stage. Just how important are they? "Tremendously":
In Carter’s opinion, it is more important to have an amicus brief at the petition stage than on the merits, because it shows the issue is of importance to someone other than the litigants. Carter noted that as a petitioner, he always accedes to a request to file an amicus, even if in support of the respondent. Even a hostile brief shows that the case is important enough to warrant an organization spending time and money to oppose it.

There's even some helpful advice on the more mundane matter of when to file one's reply to a brief in opposition:
Chris also encouraged parties to quickly file their reply briefs in support of a cert. petition so that the pool memo writer will receive that brief in the same package from the clerk’s office that includes the petition and brief in opposition. Consider sending the Court a .pdf copy of any reply brief, because the off-site security screening process can cause delay. Alternatively, file the reply in the clerk’s office before 2 p.m. and in an open container, and the office will receive it the same day.

Now how can you not go read the whole thing?


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