Tuesday, March 26, 2013

FAMU Law professor, students submit amicus brief to U.S. Supreme Court

Three FAMU College of Law students assisted Associate Professor Patricia Broussard in an exercise that brought practical application to their studies in an Advanced Appellate Advocacy course. Third-year law students Stacy Hane and Akunna Olumba, and second-year law student Sabrina Collins completed an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court for the Shelby County, Alabama v Eric H. Holder, Jr. case.

By definition, the amicus curiae is literally translated as "friend of the court" or someone who is not party to a particular case but presents information that bears on the case, but was not solicited by either party to do so. The amicus brief is commonly filed in appeals concerning matters of broad public interest, such as a civil rights case.

According to scotusblog.com, the Shelby County v Holder case has at issue whether Congress' 2006 decision to reauthorize Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act under the pre-existing coverage formula of Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act exceeded its authority under the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments and thus violated the Tenth Amendment and Article IV of the United States Constitution.

"When this case surfaced, Professor Broussard felt this was the perfect opportunity for us to participate in the drafting of a brief, hone our skills and present a document that is professionally written of Supreme Court quality," said Olumba.

Associate Professor Broussard, who also teaches Constitutional Law, submitted the brief in support of the Respondents, which include U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., in the name of the named students and organizations at the College of Law. The supporting FAMU College of Law student organizations include the Advocacy Skills Board, Student Animal Legal Defense Fund, Asian Pacific American Law Student Association, Phi Alpha Delta Fraternity, Women’s Law Caucus, and Hispanic American Law Student Association. 

The brief, submitted on January 17, 2013, contends that Congress drew reasonable conclusions from the extensive evidence it gathered and acted pursuant to the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, which entrust Congress with ensuring that the right to vote - surely among the most important guarantees of political liberty in the Constitution - is not abridged on account of race.

No comments: