Thursday, December 29, 2005

Amicus fight

Professor Ricardo Bascuas, on behalf of NACDL, FACDL-Miami, and NAFD, authored an amicus brief in the Cuban Spy case, in support of the panel's determination that venue was improper. Typically these briefs are filed with the consent of both parties. In this case, however, the government has opposed the filing of the brief, making some unbelievable claims. For one, it claims that it's not fair because it doesn't have enough space to respond to the arguments raised by amici -- it even takes a shot at the panel saying that the panel used more words than were given to the government in its brief. In the same breath, it also says that the arguments raised by amici are not relevant. Finally, it asserts that the brief is "partisan." I have never seen the government take such an odd position. Amicus briefs are filed by organizations that have a unique perspective on the subject being debated in court. Of course they have a position. And if the arguments raised aren't relevant, why does the government have to waste any of its space addressing them? In the interest of disclosure, I am NACDL's vice chair of the amicus committee for the 11th circuit and I signed the brief on behalf of NACDL.

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