Amica Curiae

May 23rd, 2016

In today’s decision in Green v. Brennan, Justice Sotomayor’s majority opinion used the correct latin, amica curiae, to refer to a female Court-appointed attorney: Catherine M.A. Carroll.

Amica and the dissent read “matter alleged to be discriminatory” as having a clear enough meaning to displace our reliance on the standard rule for limitations periods. They argue that “matter” is not equivalent to “claim” or “cause of action,” and that the use of the phrase “matter alleged to be discriminatory” is a sufficiently clear statement that the standard claim accrual rule should not apply. According toamica and the dissent, “matter” refers only to the discriminatory acts of the Postal Service, not Green’s resignation.

I could only find one other instance of that phrasing in a footnote in Justice Ginsburg’s decision in Daimler AG v. Bauman (2014):

Brief for Lea Brilmayer as Amica Curiae 10–12, amici in support of Daimler homed in on the insufficiency of Daimler’s California contacts for general jurisdiction purposes. In short, and in light of our pathmarking opinion in Goodyear, we perceive no unfairness in deciding today that California is not an all-purpose forum for claims against Daimler.
Perhaps the new focus on the gender of Court-appointed attorneys was on the mind of the Justices after Adam Liptak’s column showing the bulk of Court-appointed amici were male.