The Public Health Law Center plays a unique role supporting public health policy by preparing amicus curiae, or friend of the court, briefs in legal cases of national importance related to public health. We have prepared and filed or joined in dozens of amicus briefs in key cases before the appellate courts of many states, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Courts of Appeals, and many state supreme courts. For example, these briefs have supported local authority to enact smoke-free ordinances or to regulate tobacco distribution, and rules requiring restaurants to provide warnings on menus about sodium content.
Amicus briefs are legal documents filed in appellate court cases by non-litigants with a strong interest in the subject matter. The briefs advise the court of relevant, additional information or arguments that the court might wish to consider. A well-written amicus brief can have a significant impact on judicial decision-making. Cases are occasionally decided on grounds suggested by an amicus, and decisions may rely on information or factual analysis provided only by an amicus. You can read more about the Function and Role of Amicus Briefs in Public Health Litigation.
The database below of cases in which we have participated in amicus briefs is searchable by keyword, public health topic, legal issue, state, and case status. You can also use the icons to do a quick-search of four broad topics.
Amicus Briefs Database
State of New York, City of New York v. United Parcel Service (U.S. Ct. of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit) (2018)
The legal issue in this case is whether the District Court’s civil penalty against UPS for illegally transporting hundreds of thousands of cartons of untaxed cigarettes from Indian reservation retailers to non-tribal members in the State of New York is constitutional, well within the court’s discretion, and consistent with the harm to public health caused by UPS’s violations.
The legal issue in this case is whether the government has substantial latitude, and is entitled to deferential review, in regulating false and misleading commercial and professional speech within an industry, and in protecting the public from deceptive marketing and the purveying of misinformation by service providers.
The legal issue in this case is whether San Francisco's ordinance requiring a health warning on advertisements of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) violates the First Amendment and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
RPF Oil Co. v. Genesee Cty. and Genesee Cty. Health Dep’t, Genesee Cty. Circuit Ct., Case No. 17-109107-CZ (2017)
The legal issue in this case is whether a preliminary injunction against Genesee County’s Tobacco 21 Regulation would deprive county residents, particularly young people, of the demonstrable public health benefits of prohibiting the sale of tobacco products to persons under 21 years of age.
The legal issue in this case is whether Executive Order 13771 threatens to block, weaken, or delay critical public health protections in contravention of congressional intent, jeopardizing progress in public health seen since Congress established the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the early 20th century.
The legal issue in this case is whether the Panel’s preemption analysis accurately interpreted Congressional intent when it omitted consideration of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act’s preservation and savings clauses, leading to the conclusion that any state regulation banning sales of tobacco product is subject to implied preemption.
The legal issue in this case is whether state credit card no-surcharge laws unconstitutionally restrict speech conveying price information (as the Eleventh Circuit has held), or regulate economic conduct (as the Second and Fifth Circuits have held).
The legal issue in this case is whether New York City’s sodium warning rule is a scientifically controversial, arbitrary and capricious, constitutionally invalid measure preempted by federal law, or whether the sodium warning is a scientifically sound, legally well-grounded measure representing a reasonable response to a public health crisis.