First among Friends: Interest Groups, the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Right to Privacy

By Suzanne U. Samuels; Nadine Strossen | Go to book overview

6

Conclusions

The creation of a constitutional right to privacy has provided ample opportunities and a compelling need for amici curiae participation in a range of cases involving abortion, contraception, gay and lesbian rights, family relationships, and aid in dying heard by the Court over the last four decades. This book has highlighted the amici role in an attempt to understand the impact that these briefs have had on privacy doctrine. In examining amici influence in one doctrinal area across several decades, this book has aimed at filling a gap in the literature on judicial decision-making by providing a contextual analysis of interest group influence. This contextual approach has been urged by a number of scholars and reveals how the privacy right has changed over time, in large part because of the input of interested groups and individuals filing these briefs. 1

By examining the Justices' personal papers and opinions in eleven cases, this book finds that amici have had a subtle but profound impact on the way the Court interprets the privacy right. The influence of amici arguments and data is manifest in at least two ways: first, this influence can be discerned in the Justices' explicit citation to these briefs; and second, and perhaps more important, this impact is revealed in the Justices' sometimes heavy reliance upon amici data and arguments without attribution. Patterns of amici influence on the decision-making process can be discerned over time, as can amici and party coordination and cooperation. This study strongly suggests that many of the same actors participated in these cases and that the Justices seem to have been “playing favorites” among the friends, that is, relying much more heavily on some than on others.

-193-

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First among Friends: Interest Groups, the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Right to Privacy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Preface xi
  • 1 - Introduction: Decision-Making in the U.S. Supreme Court Introduction 1
  • 2 - The Right to Privacy Created: Poe V. Ullman and Griswold V. Connecticut 25
  • 3 - Amici Curiae and the Abortion Debate 53
  • 4 - Amici Curiae and Assistance in Dying 111
  • 5 - Amici Curiae and Protected Relationships 165
  • 6 - Conclusions 193
  • Sources 225
  • Selected Bibliography 235
  • Index 247
  • About the Author 285
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