Pilots are required to learn and use checklists for every aspect of flight, from preparing for take-off to dealing with equipment malfunction. It was a checklist that helped Captain Chelsey “Sully” Sullenberger and co-pilot Jeffery Skiles safely land their US Airways flight in the Hudson River after the plane’s engines were damaged by a flock of geese.

Checklists are part of the foundation of our company and critical to our success.  We use them to communicate a variety of information, from work goals and project objectives to our ability to get more than 1,200 briefs docketed each year.  Here now – the third entry in our six-part series – is our Amicus Curiae Brief Checklist:

  • Cover
    • ___
    • In the Supreme Court of the United States
    • Who v. Who
    • Petition stage: “On Petition for a Writ of Certiorari to …” (match the lower court as directed by the Supreme Court’s docket)
    • Merits stage: “On Writ of Certiorari to …” (match the lower court as directed by the Supreme Court’s docket)
    • Title of Brief (“Brief of Amicus/Amici Curiae
      [Party Name] in Support of Petitioner/Respondent”)
    • Name, address, phone number, and email address for counsel of record; Other members of the Supreme Court Bar and active members of the bar in their highest state court may also appear on the cover
  • Questions Presented (not required)
    • Some practitioners reiterate the question presented for review
  • Table of Contents
  • Table of Authorities
  • Interest of the Amicus/Amici Curiae
    • Indicate the interest of the amicus curiae and identify the role(s) in which amicus will be of assistance to the court.
  • Summary of the Argument
    • Optional at the petition stage; mandatory at the merits stage
  • Argument
  • Conclusion
  • Appendix (optional)
    • Appendix material must be typeset to meet the Court’s formatting requirements
    • If including appendix material, you must also include a table of appendices
  • Consent Letters (unless blanket consents appear on the Court’s docket)
    • You must include a copy of consent letters from counsel for the petitioner(s) and respondent(s) in your mailing to the Court. If consent is withheld by either party, you must file the brief with a motion
  • Footnote 1

Petition stage:  Include the following four averments:

  1. Authorship (gov’t excluded)
  2. Funding (gov’t excluded)
  3. Consent (gov’t excluded)
  4. Notice

Sample language: “Pursuant to Sup. Ct. R. 37.6, amicus curiae and its counsel state that none of the parties to this case nor their counsel authored this brief in whole or in part, and that no person or entity made a monetary contribution specifically for the preparation or submission of this brief. Amicus curiae files this brief with the written consent of all parties, copies of which are on file in the Clerk’s Office. All parties received timely notice of amicus curiae’s intention to file this brief.”

Merits stage:  Include the following three averments:

  1. Authorship (gov’t excluded)
  2. Funding (gov’t excluded)
  3. Consent (gov’t excluded)

Sample language: “Letters from all parties consenting to the filing of this brief have been submitted to the Clerk. This brief was not authored in whole or in part by counsel for any party. No one other than Amici made a monetary contribution to preparing or submitting this brief.

Due Date:

Petition stage: Due at the same time as respondent’s brief in opposition (pending two rare exceptions – give us a call to confirm your due date)

Merits stage: Due seven days after the party supported


Petition stage: Cream, 65-pound cover stock

Merits stage: Light green if in support of the petitioner/neither party; Dark green if in support of the respondent, 65-pound cover stock

Word Limit:

Petition stage: 6,000 words (including footnotes and interest of amicus)

Merits stage: 9,000 words (including footnotes and interest of amicus)

Method of Filing: Filing means the actual receipt of documents by the Clerk; or their deposit in the United States mail, with first-class postage prepaid, on or before the final date allowed for filing; or their delivery to a third-party commercial carrier, on or before the final date allowed for filing, for delivery to the Clerk within three calendar days.

How to Schedule with Cockle:  We recommend doing this as soon as you’ve decided to file your amicus curiae brief, as our schedule fills up quickly.  If you are considering filing a Supreme Court amicus curiae brief, or have any questions about our process and pricing, give us a call at (800) 225-6964 or email [email protected].