This week, we’re continuing our look at the amicus brief data with two questions: (1) given how common amicus briefs are at the California Supreme Court, are briefs clustered more in cases involving certain areas of law than others; and (2) are more amicus briefs filed in California offensive – attacking an adverse Court of Appeal decision by supporting the appellant – or defensive – supporting respondent and defending a Court of Appeal decision?
In the 1990s, amicus briefs were spread among many civil areas of law. In all seven areas saw amicus briefs in double figures. Tort law was the most common, with amicus briefs in 76 cases. Sixty-five government and administrative law cases had amicus briefs. Forty-nine constitutional law cases, thirty-four civil procedure, thirty-one insurance law cases, twenty-four employment law cases and fifteen workers comp cases had amicus briefs. Behind that were domestic relations at nine, tax law with eight cases and commercial law and environmental law at seven each. The rest of the amicus briefs were widely scattered.
Most tort amicus briefs were offensive – 150 briefs supporting appellants, 98 for respondents. Government and administrative law cases were more evenly distributed – 115 for appellants, 91 for respondents. Constitutional law is almost identical – 114 for appellants, 95 for respondents. Civil procedure is nearly even too: 61 for appellants and 55 for respondents. Insurance law is evenly split too – 78 for appellants and 70 for respondents.
Join us back here tomorrow as we review the same questions on the criminal side of the docket.