Several weeks ago, I started an official organization at the University of Texas called the Texas Amici Society. You can find our website at TexasAmici.org.
The experience of writing and filing a brief in Ricci v. DeStefano is one I will not soon forget. I had the incredible fortune of writing on the same side as a group of lawyers from the city in which I live and the opportunity to meet them and learn about the process was fantastic. The case was thrilling and oral arguments happened to be on a non-class day for me. I went to Washington and met the legal teams on both sides of the case. Clarence Thomas read my amicus brief (maybe). I’m not sure the stars will align so perfectly again.
My hope with this organization is that it will foster interest amongst other students for topics in Constitutional Law. Our end goal is to file amicus briefs in courts in the United States in a way that is beneficial to the cases in which we participate. It would not be difficult to write and submit poorly-researched and poorly-argued briefs for the sake of filing them, but their filing is disfavored, disrespectful, and not something that I am willing to further.
Right now, this organization is supported in large-part by my knowledge of the process and my enthusiasm to file a brief in US v. Stevens. My goal, and one that is slowly being realized, is that individuals will take on initiative of their own and that our organization will be able to work on several briefs simultaneously, with different groups of students working together on cases. I could choose to continue to file briefs as an individual and solicit help from time-to-time, but the idea of getting other students engaged in the process is more appealing to me. I have the good fortune of working on the current brief with a group of intelligent and fascinating students who are all eager to produce a quality product and, perhaps more importantly, wiling to sacrifice the time it takes to produce a great brief. As OT08 winds down to a close, we will likely begin only with this case and I do not foresee us taking any other cases for the term. Our first real test will be the beginning of OT09 when the Court will grant review in 10-15 cases to start off the term. Hopefully, we will have the infrastructure in place to participate in two or three of those cases.
Right now, cases which have already been granted cert. are the most accessible for our group but hopefully as we develop we will begin to take cases at the cert. stage. In a few weeks, we will be meeting with a group of attorneys to discuss Stevens and amicus-writing in general. As our group grows, I will almost certainly be looking around the legal community to individuals and groups for help and advice on cases before the Court.