legal work

Amicus Briefs

legal work

Amicus Briefs

FAC seeks to strengthen and defend governmental transparency and the First Amendment. One way we do that is by filing briefs or letters in selected cases as amicus curiae, or “friend of the court.” In doing so, FAC is able to offer the important perspective and expertise of an advocacy organization dedicated to advancing and protecting free speech, a free press and public participation in civic affairs. FAC prioritizes cases involving California sunshine laws, including the California Public Records Act and the Ralph M. Brown Act, along with cases affecting freedom of expression and newsgathering rights. To submit a request for amicus support in a case, please contact legal [at] firstamendmentcoalition.org.

Martinez et al. v. Fresno (amicus brief)

FAC files proposed amicus brief in case challenging Fresno ordinance UPDATE: On May 24, 2022, U.S. District Judge Dale Drozd granted the plaintiffs motion for a preliminary injunction blocking the city’s enforcement of the problematic portion of the ordinance, citing First Amendment concerns. Read the order. Case: Martinez et al.

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legal work archives

Amici Digests

From the archives: Read past year digests of amicus curiae briefs FAC supported.

Amici Briefs Digest – Sept. 2018

Here are amicus briefs and/or letters FAC has either authored or joined since March, 2018: FAC Authored Amici ACLU 9th Circuit Appeal.  On August 3, we filed an amicus brief in support of the ACLU of Northern California’s appeal of an adverse Privacy Act ruling against their clients, two editors of the website antiwar.com.  Our amicus brief argues, in essence, that the lower court’s ruling would open the door to the FBI broadly collecting information about journalists for the mere act of publishing — just the kind of surveillance prohibited under the Privacy Act.  FAC was represented here by Cooley

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Amici Briefs Digest – March 2018

Here are amicus briefs and/or letters FAC has either authored or joined since Dec. 2018: FAC Authored Amicus Briefs Brazil v. Newark Unified: On February 2, FAC filed an amicus brief that we co-authored with the ACLU in a trial court proceeding.  This was a fairly unusual move for FAC.  We have generally steered clear of trial-court amicus briefs for a number of reasons, including (a) trial court rulings have limited or no impact beyond the parties to the case; and (b) they are logistically difficult, with short time frames and unclear rules about whether and how they can be

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Amici Briefs Digest, Dec. 2017

Here are amicus briefs and/or letters FAC has joined since the last report: FAC Joined Amicus Briefs Guiffre v. Maxwell: FAC signed on to this amicus brief by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.  It asks the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn an extremely overbroad sealing order that purports to require secrecy of records filed with the court as part of discovery motions in a defamation lawsuit brought by one of the alleged victims of sex trafficking committed by financier Jeffrey Epstein. In re National Security Letter: FAC signed on to this Reporters Committee amicus brief

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Amicus Briefs Digest, Sept. 2017

Here are amicus briefs and/or letters FAC has either authored or joined since the last report: Amicus Briefs Authored By FAC Callaghan v. West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission: FAC authored an amicus brief urging the United States Supreme Court to review and reverse a decision by the West Virginia Supreme Court imposing draconian penalties on a candidate for judicial office for statements he made during a political campaign. The Philadelphia firm of Schnader Harrison prepared FAC’s amicus brief, which is in support of Callaghan’s petition for review by the Court. The core argument is that political speech must receive the

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