This week, we’re digging deeper on the data on for amicus briefs. We’re asking two questions: (1) what areas of law have led to amicus brief filings; and (2) in those areas, are more briefs filed for appellants and appellees? This will shed some light on several questions. First, given that Illinois is roughly in the middle of the pack as far as frequency of amicus filings, what areas of law – both civil and criminal – spark filings in this state? And second, are more amicus briefs offensive – attacking Appellate Court decisions the filers don’t like – or defensive – defending those decisions?
First, we review the raw data for number of cases in which at least one amicus brief was filed. Like most of the low-to-moderate-filings states, the most frequent area of civil law for amicus filings is tort by a significant margin. Between 1990 and 1999, 41 tort cases saw at least one amicus brief. Second was civil procedure at 13 cases. Twelve constitutional law cases saw at least one amicus. Below that, 7 government/administrative law cases saw an amicus, 6 insurance cases, 5 workers comp, 4 domestic relations and 2 each from environmental law, employment law and election law.
Next, we review the distribution of amicus briefs between appellants and appellees for these areas of law. In tort law, most amicus briefs during the 1990s were filed for appellants – 54 to 30 for the decade. Civil procedure, constitutional law and government/administrative law were reasonably closely divided, but it appears that insurance law briefs during these years were for the most part defensive filings – a dozen for appellants, but eighteen for appellees. Workers comp briefs split eight to one, appellants over appellees. Domestic relations, environmental law and employment law each saw nothing but briefs for appellants – six in domestic relations, four in environmental law and two in employment law. Finally, election law saw two briefs for appellants, two for appellees.
Join us back here tomorrow as we continue our review of the amicus data by area of law.
Image courtesy of Flickr by Gary Todd (no changes).