Multistate Amicus Briefs Database

Attorney General Multistate Amicus Briefs Database, 1980-2013 (Excel)
When citing the above amicus briefs data, please use the following citation:
Nolette, Paul. 2014. “State Litigation during the Obama Administration: Diverging Agendas in an Era of Polarized Politics.” Publius: The Journal of Federalism 44(3): 451-474.

Figure 2: Number of AG Multistate Amicus Briefs Filed, 1980 to 2013

Data Sources
I derived the data on multistate amicus curiae brief filings in the US Supreme Court chiefly from a search of the “US Supreme Court Briefs” database available through Lexis-Nexis. I used the following search string for each year of the study in order to identify briefs filed by AGs: COUNSEL((attorney! w/2 general!) or (state! w/2 attorney!) or “Atty. Gen.” or “Attorney Gen.” or “Atty. General” or “solicitor general”) or (amici pre/1 plural(states)). Because the Lexis-Nexis database includes only a limited number of briefs concerning petitions for certiorari in cases that the Court ultimately declines to review, I supplemented this search with a list of such cases provided by the Supreme Court Counsel for the National Association of Attorneys General, Dan Schweitzer.

The data include AG participation during both the pre-certiorari and merits stages of each case from 1980 through 2013. The more limited inclusion of pre-certiorari briefs in both the Lexis-Nexis database and NAAG compilation from 1980 to 1992 means that it is likely some of these briefs for this period are missing from this data set.

Category Descriptions

#: Number assigned to case, from earliest to most recent case.
Case: Title of case.
Docket: The docket number assigned to the case.
Year: Year in which the brief was filed.
Term: Supreme Court term in which the brief was filed.
CertPet: Date on which the earliest multistate pre-certiorari brief in favor of the petitioner(s) was filed in the case.
MeritsP: Date on which the earliest multistate merits brief in favor of the petitioner(s) was filed in the case.
MeritsR: Date on which the earliest multistate merits brief in favor of the respondent(s) was filed in the case.
CertPet: Date of other multistate brief filed in the case.
TotAGBrfs: Total number of AG briefs filed in the case. Both multistate and single-state briefs are included in this total.
Merits?: Specifies whether the case reached the merits stages of the case.
Decision: Specifies whether the Supreme Court decided the case in favor of the petitioner, in favor of the respondent, or denied certiorari.
Vote: Specifies the justices’ vote count in favor of either the petitioner or respondent.
AGs Win?: Specifies whether the Court decided for the same party supported by the multistate brief. “Mixed” is listed if multistate briefs opposed one another in the case.
Issue #: Lists the issue number for the case, as designated by the U.S. Supreme Court Database.
Issue #: Lists the general issue involved in the case, as designated by the U.S. Supreme Court Database.
DOJ?: Specifies whether the federal Department of Justice (or other federal agency) filed a brief in the case.
FedOppo?: Specifies whether the federal Department of Justice (or other federal agency) filed a brief opposing the position of at least one multistate brief in the case.
StateOppo?: Specifies whether any state(s) filed a brief opposing the position of at least one multistate brief in the case.
Partisan?: Specifies whether the multistate amicus brief filings in the case exhibited partisan behavior. A “partisan brief” is defined here as one in which at least 80% of the AGs participating on a multistate brief are from the same political party.
#AGs: The total number of AGs participating on a brief in the case.
#PetAG: The total number of AGs participating on a brief favoring the petitioner in the case.
#ResAG: The total number of AGs participating on a brief favoring the respondent in the case.
#DemPet: The number of Democratic AGs participating on a brief favoring the petitioner in the case.
#GOPPet: The number of Republican AGs participating on a brief favoring the petitioner in the case.
%DemP: The percentage of AGs participating on a brief favoring the petitioner in the case who are Democrats.
%GOPP: The percentage of AGs participating on a brief favoring the petitioner in the case who are Republicans.
%DemR: The percentage of AGs participating on a brief favoring the respondent in the case who are Democrats.
%GOPR: The percentage of AGs participating on a brief favoring the respondent in the case who are Republicans.
#DemRes: The number of Democratic AGs participating on a brief favoring the respondent in the case.
#GOPRes: The number of Republican AGs participating on a brief favoring the respondent in the case.
TotalDem: The total number of Democratic AGs participating on a brief in the case.
TotalGOP: The total number of Republican AGs participating on a brief in the case.
AGDirect?: Specifies whether any AGs were direct parties on the case.
AGPartyP: Lists the state (shaded by AG party) serving as a petitioner in the case.
AGPartyP: Lists the state (shaded by AG party) serving as a respondent in the case.
Lead 1-6: Lists the state(s) (shaded by AG party) serving as a lead states on briefs filed in the case.
Petitioners: Lists the state(s) (shaded by AG party) participating on a brief(s) filed in favor of the petitioner in the case.
Respondents: Lists the state(s) (shaded by AG party) participating on a brief(s) filed in favor of the respondent in the case.

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