Amicus Briefs

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

Your search returned 5 cases.

Lora Jean Williams, et al. v. City of Philadelphia et al., Nos. 2077, 2078 CD 2016 (2017)

The legal issue in this case is whether the City of Philadelphia has the authority to implement a tax on soda and sugary drinks, levied on distributors of the products.

State: Pennsylvania
Most Recent Decision: 2018
Status: Closed

American Beverage Association, et al. v. The City and County of San Francisco (2016)

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.

State: California
Most Recent Decision: 2017
Status: Open

Public Citizen, Inc. v. Donald J. Trump, U.S. District Ct. for D.C., Civil Action No. 17-253 (2017)

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.

State: Washington D.C.
Most Recent Decision: 2017
Status: Open

National Restaurant Association v. NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, et al. (2016)

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.

State: New York
Most Recent Decision: 2017
Status: Closed

Cleveland v. State, 989 N.E. 2d 1072 (Ohio Ct. App. 2013)

The legal issue in this case is whether an amendment to state law that is not a general law for purposes of home-rule analysis, and that purports to preempt the home rule authority of Ohio cities to address serious public health problems such as food-based health disparities, violates the Ohio constitution’s home rule amendment and one-subject rule.

State: Ohio
Most Recent Decision: 2013
Status: Closed