William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal


The amicus curiae brief has become a common occurrence in today's legal arena, especially with the proliferation of private interest groups that specialize in numerous topics of political and social interest. The substantial increase in the use of amici briefs, however, has sparked criticism concerning both the costs (in effort and resources) associated with filing these griefs and the persuasive effect (or lack thereof) the briefs have on the Court. Much of this criticism arises from the failure of many interest groups to posit "legal" arguments that apply the facts of a given case to the law. Instead, the amici briefs often present policy arguments or unusual factual theories, which ultimately renders them ineffective as useful legal tools.

In this Article, Professor Morriss explores the role of the amici and the influence of the amicus curiae brief upon the Court in three recent Supreme Court Title VII cases: Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services, Inc., Burlington Industries, Inc. v. Ellerth, and Faragher v. City of Boca Raton. Morriss concludes that as more and more private interest groups endeavor to emphasize their own importance by filing amici briefs, the Court, rather than being enlightened, will be burdened by information which lacks legal substance.