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2010 | 11 | 63-77

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Friends of The Court or Friends of Their Own Interests: Amicus Curiae as a Lobbying Tool of Groups of Interest in the U.S. Supreme Court's Decision-Making Process


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Most of the contemporary researchers focus on the lobbying issues in the United States with regard to the executive or the legislative. However, there is another important institution in the American government, which, from time to time, becomes the subject to political and social pressures: the U.S. Supreme Court. Since the very beginning of American history, the Supreme Court has played an important role in shaping basic social, political and economic relations in the country. This role was derived from the power of judicial review, i.e. the ability of the Court to check constitutionality of legal acts created by other branches of government (the executive and the legislative) which really meant direct interpretation of the federal Constitution. It led to numerous decisions concerning different aspects of everyday life, such as the scope of protection of civil rights or the powers of the federal and state governments. Today, the Justices of the Court are among the most prominent and influential actors of American political and legal stage, thus becoming an attractive object for various lobby groups. The best way to influence the work of the Court, apart from not being the party of a dispute, is to sign a document appearing as a third party to the dispute, so-called 'friend of the court', in Latin: amicus curiae. Amicus curiae brief is the best way to assist the Justices in their decision-making process. The paper aims at analyzing the most important decisions made by the Justices of the Supreme Court since the 1950s, which have been indirectly or directly influenced by significant amicus curiae briefs, often prepared by various lobbying groups aiming at achieving a concrete legal result.







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  • Institute of American Studies and Polish Diaspora, Jagiellonian University, Rynek Glowny 34, 31-010 Krakow, Poland


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