USD Law Students Submit Amicus Brief to the U.S. Supreme Court

United States Supreme Court

San Diego (December 9, 2013) – University of San Diego (USD) School of Law students David Barnes, Alyssa Eisenberg, David Greco, Erika Oliver, and Daniel Taskalos—under the direction of USD Law Professors Michael Ramsey and Michael Devitt­­—wrote and filed an amicus curiae brief in support of the respondent in the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case, National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning, A Division of the Noel Corp.

Based upon scholarship by USD School of Law Professor Michael Rappaport, the brief provides support for the decision reached by the Court of Appeals and exemplifies how an original public meaning analysis is a legal analysis of the meaning of language at the time of its enactment that is well within the competence of lawyers and judges to present and assess.

Amicus briefs are filed on behalf of one side of a lawsuit by a third party and are intended to educate the court about an aspect of the law that might not be well known or to raise awareness about an issue in the case. Judges, often those in appeals courts, consider the documents as they make their decisions.

Joining the brief were Professors Michael Rappaport (San Diego), Chris Green (Mississippi), Gary Lawson (Boston University), John McGinnis (Northwestern) and Todd Zywicki (George Mason).

“It is unrealistic to expect judges to do the work that Mike [Ramsey] and others have done on the original meaning of the Recess Appointments Clause,” said Georgetown University Professor of legal theory Randy Barnett in a recent blog article about the brief. “But judges are quite competent to assess the comparative strength of this evidence when weighed against contrary arguments, the way they weigh other evidence that is presented to them in our adversary legal system.”

Read the full brief online.

About the Supreme Court Clinic at USD School of Law

The Supreme Court Clinic at USD School of Law provides second-, third- and fourth-year law students the unique opportunity to receive hands-on experience conducting in-depth research, strategizing legal arguments, and preparing and filing an amicus brief to the United States Supreme Court. Additional periodic classroom sessions held throughout the semester focus upon the substantive issues, Supreme Court procedure, and persuasive written advocacy.

About the University of San Diego School of Law

Recognized for the excellence of its faculty, curriculum and clinical programs, the University of San Diego (USD) School of Law enrolls approximately 900 Juris Doctor and graduate law students from throughout the United States and around the world. The law school is best known for its offerings in the areas of business and corporate law, constitutional law, intellectual property, international and comparative law, public interest law, and taxation.

USD School of Law is one of the 81 law schools elected to the Order of the Coif, a national honor society for law school graduates. The law school’s faculty is a strong group of outstanding scholars and teachers with national and international reputations and currently ranks 23rd worldwide in all-time faculty downloads on the Social Sciences Research Network (SSRN). The school is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Founded in 1954, the law school is part of the University of San Diego, a private, nonprofit, independent, Roman Catholic university chartered in 1949.


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