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
The legal issue in this case is what standard of First Amendment review applies to compelled disclosures of factual information that the government requires for reasons other than consumer deception.
National Association of Tobacco Outlets, Inc., et al., v. City of New York (U.S. District Ct., So. District of N.Y. 2014)
The legal issue in this case is whether New York City’s law prohibiting tobacco product price discounts violates the First Amendment and is preempted by federal law.
The legal issue in this case is whether the Free Speech Clause of the California Constitution extends so far into the ordinary business of government as to forbid regulation of basic economic activity whenever that activity happens to involve language or information, including the enactment of a statute that requires the gathering and mailing of unadorned statistical data.
National Association of Tobacco Outlets v. City of Providence (U.S. Ct. of Appeals for the 1st Circuit) (2013)
The legal issue in this case is whether Providence’s Pricing Ordinance which regulates retailer use of discount tobacco coupons and multipack discounts in tobacco sales, infringes on freedom of speech rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.
The legal issue in this case is whether the district court was correct in granting a preliminary injunction against enforcement of graphic warnings on cigarette packages, required by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which illustrate well-documented consequences of smoking in an easy-to-understand and memorable way, thus raising public awareness of the risks of smoking and promoting public health by reducing tobacco use.
The legal issue in this case is whether Congress’s intent in enacting the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act’s preemption provision was to protect tobacco companies from “diverse, nonuniform, and confusing cigarette labeling and advertising regulations,” rather than to bar public health messaging that does not place any requirements on tobacco companies.
The legal issue in this case is whether various provisions in the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act violate tobacco companies’ First Amendment rights to free speech and due process in their marketing efforts, and constitute an unconstitutional taking under the Fifth Amendment.
The legal issue in this case is whether New York City’s health regulation, Resolution § 181.19, requiring tobacco retailers to post factual health warnings where tobacco products are sold, is preempted by federal law, violates the free speech provisions of the federal and state constitutions, and exceeds the authority of the Board of Health under New York State Constitution’s separation of powers doctrine.