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Constitutional Interpretation

Amicus Curiae Briefs


Standing Rule G.2.e provides that the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly may retain legal counsel and institute or participate in legal proceedings in civil and criminal courts in support of decisions, actions and programs of the General Assembly.

One vehicle available to carry out that responsibility is the filing of amicus curiae briefs.

Amicus curii is a Latin term for a party that is not one of the active litigants in the case, but who speaks to the court as a friend. It also means to bring to the court’s attention policy matters and issues which should be considered by the court before rendering its decision.

The process that leads to the filing of an amicus brief may begin internally when a presbytery or an entity of the church raises a concern involving religious liberty or personal and social issues, or externally when another denomination or organization asks the Stated Clerk to consider the issues in a case. Where the brief involves state or local issues, the presbytery involved is ordinarily notified and asked to comment.

The Advisory Committee on Litigation advises the Stated Clerk on matters of litigation for which the Stated Clerk is responsible. The committee evaluates the denomination’s participation in amicus briefs on the basis of
15 criteria (PDF) to guide them in determining whether a particular brief is of interest to the denomination.

When filing an amicus brief, the Stated Clerk speaks on behalf of previous assemblies and applies to the issues in a case the statements made by the Assembly. As an officer of the Assembly, the Clerk does not speak as an individual or for the whole Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), but for the Assembly.

If you would like more information regarding these briefs please contact:

Laurie Griffith, Associate Director for Constitutional Interpretation
1.888.728.7228 x5432

Flor Vélez-Díaz, Manager for Judicial Process
1.888.728.7228 x5434 

Diane Minter, Manager of Administration
1.888.728.7228 x5421



Criteria for Evaluation of Amicus Briefs (PDF)

Sharonell Fulton; Cecelia Paul; Toni Lynn Simms-Busch; Catholic Social Services, Plaintiffs-appellants, v. City of Philadelphia; Department of Human Services for the City of Philadelphia; Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, Defendants-appellees. On appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Brief for Amici Curiae Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.); Central Conference of American Rabbis; the Central Atlantic, Penn Central, Pen Northeast, Pennsylvania Southeast, and Penn Central, Penn Northeast, Pennsylvania Southeast and Penn West Conferences of the United Church of Christ; Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association; Union for Reform Judaism, Unitarian Universalist Association; Covenant Network of Presbyterians; Friends for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Concerns; Men of Report Judaism; More Light Presbyterians, Muslims for Progressive Values, Reconcilingworks; Lutherans for Full Participation, Religious Institute, Inc.; Women of Reform Judaism and individual faith leaders in support of Defendants, appellees and affirmance.  In the United States Court of Appeals for the Third District on appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.


Martin Jonathan Batalla Vidal, Make the Road New York, on behalf of itself, its members, its clients and all similarly situated individuals, Antonio Alarcon, Eliana Fernandez, Carlos Vargas, Mariano, Mondragon, Carolina Fung Feng, on behalf of themselves and all other similarly situated individuals, State of New York, State of Massachusetts, State of Washington, State of Connecticut, State of Delaware, District of Columbia, State of Hawaii, State of Illinois, State of Iowa, State of New Mexico, State of North Carolina, State of Oregon, State of Pennsylvania, State of Rhode Island, State of Vermont, State of Virginia, State of Colorado, plaintiffs, appellees v. Donald J. Trump, President of the United States, United States Citizen and Immigration Services, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, United States of America, United States Department of Homeland Security, Kirstjen M. Nielsen, Secretary of Homeland Security, Jefferson B. Sessions III, United States Attorney General, in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.


Donald J. Trump, President of the United States, et al., Petitioners, v. State of Hawaii, et al.  Brief for Interfaith Group of Religious and Interreligious, On Writ of Certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in the Supreme Court of the United States of America.


Regents of the University of California; Janet Napolitano, in her official capacity as President of the University of California; et al., Plaintiffs – Appellees v. United States of America, Donald J. Trump, in his official capacity as President of the United States; U. S. Department of Homeland Security; Kirstjen Nielsen, In her official capacity as Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Defendants-Appellants. In the United States of America Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit. Brief of Amici Curiae 119 Religious Organizations in Support of Plaintiffs-Appellees for Affirmance of Preliminary Injunction.


Ravidath Lawrence Ragbir et al., Plaintiffs, v. Thomas D. Homan et al., Defendants.  Memorandum of Law Filed on Behalf of 140 Religious Leaders, Institutions, and Membership Organizations as Amici Curiae in Support of Plaintiff’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction.


Donald J. Trump, President of the United States, et al., Petitioners v. International Refugee Assistance Project, et al., and Donald J. Trump, President of the United States, et al., Petitioners, v. State of Hawaii, et al., On Writs of Certiorari to the United States Courts of Appeals for the Fourth and Ninth Circuits.  Brief for Interfaith Group of Religious and Interreligious Organizations as Amici Curiae Supporting Respondents.


Hameed Khalid Darweesh and Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi, on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated, Petitioners, v. Donald Trump, President of the United States; U. S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS); U.S Customs and Border Protection (CBP); John Kelly, Secretary of DHS; Kevin K. McAleenan, acting Commissioner of CBP; and James T. Madden, New York Field Director, CBP (PDF) 


United States, Et Al., Petitioners, v. Texas, et al., Respondents. (PDF)

12/10/14 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Petitioner, v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc. (PDF)

Episcopal Church, et al v. Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, et al; Episcopal Diocese of Northwest Texas, et al v. Robert Masterson, et al Petition for Certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court (PDF)


Gregory Houston Holt, aka Abdul Maalik Muhammad, Petitioner v. Ray Hobbs, Director, Arkansas Department of Correction, et al. (PDF)

09/23/13 Town of Greece v. Susan Galloway and Linda Stephens (PDF)
03/26/12 State of Arizona, et al. vs. United States of America, an Amicus Brief concerning immigration law (PDF)
02/13/12 State of Florida, et al. vs. U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services, et al. an Amicus Brief concerning medicaid provisions and healthcare reform (PDF)
05/22/08 Episcopal Church Cases Amicus Brief California Supreme Court filed (PDF)

Motion for Leave to Join Brief of Amici Curiae in Multi-Circuit Episcopal Church Cases in Fairfax County Virginia Circuit Court (PDF)

Multi-Circuit Episcopal Church Litigation Amicus Brief in Fairfax County Virginia Circuit Court joined (PDF)

01/11/08 District of Columbia and Adrian Fenty v. Dick Anthony Heller (PDF)
03/07/07 The Presbyterian Church of Sudan, et al., v. Talisman Energy Inc. and Republic of the Sudan (PDF)
03/15/07 Town of Foxfield, Colorado, v. The Archdiocese of Denver (PDF)
03/16/07 Shafiq Rasul et al., v. Donald Rumsfeld et al. (PDF)
10/10/06 Rasmussen v. Bunyan - Joined by PCUSA, Corporation (PDF)
11/02/06 People of the State of New York v. John Taylor (PDF)
09/09/05 Alberto R. Gonzales, Attorney General, et al. v.
O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao Do Vegetal (USA), et al.
Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church v. City of New York (PDF)
12/20/04 Cutter v. Wilkinson (PDF)
Christ Universal Mission Church v. City of Chicago (PDF)
Crawford, US Immigration and Customs v. Sergio Suarez Martinez (PDF)
Roper v. Simmons (PDF)
Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain (PDF)
O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao Do Vegetal v. Ashcroft (PDF)
Westchester Day School v. Village of Mamaroneck (PDF)
In Support of Rodi Alvardo Pena Appeal before the Attorney General (PDF)
Davey v. Locke (PDF)
Child Evangelism Fellowship of Maryland v. Montgomery County Public Schools (PDF)
Child Evangelism Fellowship of New Jersey, Inc. v. Stafford Township School (PDF)
Glassroth v. Moore (PDF)
Elvig vs. Calvin Presbyterian Church et. al. (PDF)
Wyoming Sawmills, Inc. v. U.S. Forest Service Wyoming (PDF)
Warren vs. Internal Revenue Service (PDF)
Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church v. New York City (PDF)
Arkansas Presbytery of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church v. Gary D. Hudson and Palmetto Cumberland Presbyterian Church (PDF)
Silo v. CHW Medical Foundation (PDF)
Bryce v. Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Colorado, et al. (PDF)
McCarver v. State of North Carolina (PDF)
Iskcon (Children of) v. Iskcon, D\B\A The International Society for Krishna Consciousness, et al. (PDF)
Wisconsin Conference Board of Trustees of the United Methodist Church, Inc. v. Culver (PDF)
Good News Club, et al. v. Milford Central School (PDF)
O'Bannon v. Indiana Civil Liberties Union, et al. (PDF)
Trustees of the Presbytery of Philadelphia v. Provident Mutual life Insurance Company (PDF)
From the Heart Ministries, Inc., et al. v. African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (PDF)
Davis v. Turpin (PDF)
Newport Church of the Nazarene v. Employment Department (PDF)
Braden v. Moore (PDF)
Bollard v. The California Province of the Society of Jesus (PDF)
Boyajian v. Gatzunis (AKA - Dover Amendment) (PDF)
Shirley v. Christian Methodist Episcopal Church (PDF)
Full Gospel Tabernacle and Jorge Vega v. community School District 27, et al. (PDF)
State of Washington v. Scott Anthony Martin and Rich Hamlin (PDF)
Children's Healthcare Is a Legal Duty, Inc. v. Nancy-Ann Min Deparle, et al. & First Church of Christ, Scientist (PDF)
Centennial Insurance Co. v. Central Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, Inc., et al. (PDF)
Bear Lodge Multiple Use Association v. Bruce Babbitt and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, et al. (PDF)
Martinelli v. Bridgeport Roman Catholic Diocesan Corporation (PDF)
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, et al. v. Atlantic Mutual Insurance Company (PDF)
Bauchman v. West High School, et al. (PDF)
Bronx Household of Faith v. The Board of Education (PDF)
Chittenden v. The Waterbury Center Community Church, Inc., et al. (PDF)
Doe v. Madison School District No. 321 (PDF)
James v. American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, et al. (PDF)
City of Boerne v. Flores, Archbishop of San Antonio, et al. (PDF)
Mockaitis v. Harcleroad (PDF)
Bauchman v. West High School, et al. (PDF)
Doe v. Childers (PDF)
Weaver v. Wood (PDF)
Long Island Gynecological Services v. Stewart Avenue Associates (PDF)
State of Wisconsin v. Miller (PDF)
Louis A. Siegel v. Truett-McConnell College, et al. (PDF)
Board of Pensions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America v. The Reverend Thomas Basich (PDF)
Romer v. Evans (PDF)
Flores v. The City of Boerne (PDF)
First United Methodist Church v. Hearing Examiner for the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board (PDF)
Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia v. The Russian Orthodox Church of the Holy Resurrection (PDF)
Texas Dept. of Human Services v. Ned Benson (PDF)
Equality Foundation of Greater Cincinnati, Inc v. The City of Cincinnati (PDF)