Tag Archives: Amicus curiae

Civil Rights Groups Appeal Michigan’s Debtor Prisons

English: The inscription Equal Justice Under L...

English: The inscription Equal Justice Under Law as seen on the frieze of the United States Supreme Court building (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Friday, the Brennan Center for Justice, the ACLU of Michigan, and the Michigan State Planning Body filed an amicus brief appealing the prison sentence of Joseph Bailey, who was jailed because of his inability to pay court-ordered restitution. The brief argues that jailing Bailey for being poor is unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause and the Michigan constitution.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that indigent people may not be incarcerated based on their inability to pay criminal justice-related debt.

“Imprisoning defendants who are too poor to pay court-related fees is more than just a violation of their constitutional rights,” said Jessica Eaglin, counsel at the Brennan Center. “It perpetuates an endless cycle of poverty and punishment that worsens the growing costs of unnecessary incarceration. The court needs to create a system that imposes suitable penalties for criminal action while protecting defendants, their families and the economy.”

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Filed under Civil Rights, Crime and Punishment, Law, Sick Sad World, The Supremes

Supreme Court Has Record Amicus Briefs in Health Law Case

U.S. Supreme Court building.

U.S. Supreme Court building. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Supreme Court has three days this week scheduled to hear the arguments about President Barack Obama’s sweeping health care law.

Everyone wants a say in the arguments.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has helped lead opposition to the law, has been hosting moot court sessions to prepare lawyers involved in the case. Advocates on all sides of the issues are planning rallies. Many groups, like the American Constitution Society, are setting up war rooms and daily briefings on the Supreme Court steps.

A record 136 organizations  have filed amicus curiae or “friend of the court” briefs to urge the court to either strike down or uphold the law. The groups filing amicus briefs include the usual heavy hitters like the AARP and obscure groups that have rarely, if ever, been involved in a Supreme Court case.

Economists are wading into the debate with briefs that offer clashing views of the benefits and harms that they believe the health care law brings.

Catholic and anti-abortion groups are opposing it because of concerns about federal financing for abortion services.

Massachusetts, which approved a similar insurance model under Governor Mitt Romney, argues in its amicus brief that its experience “confirms that Congress had a rational basis” to impose minimum insurance requirements.

Via The New York Times.

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Filed under Activism, Law, Sidebar, The Supremes