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Who is "Whispering" in the Supreme Court's Ears? with Hazelton & Hinkle


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Professors Morgan Hazelton and Rachael Hinkle have researched more than 25,000 submitted Supreme Court briefs to answer the question, "How much do they matter?"

Interest groups invest an estimated $25 million to $50 million a year to produce roughly one thousand amicus briefs to influence Supreme Court rulings, but do they work?”
— Morgan Hazelton & Rachael Hinkle
MONTEREY/SANTA BARBARA, CA, UNITED STATES, June 6, 2023/ -- SideBar podcast on The Legal Talk Network welcomes Professors Morgan Hazelton and Rachael Hinkle to discuss their fascinating book on one of the mysteries behind Supreme Court decision-making. "Persuading the Supreme Court: The Significance of Briefs in Judicial Decision-Making" combines research of more than 25,000 party and amicus briefs filed between 1984 and 2015 and interviews with former Supreme Court clerks and attorneys to shed light on the use of amicus briefs, one of the more mysterious and consequential features of Supreme Court cases.

Both Hazelton and Hinkle have J.D. and Ph.D. degrees and combine unique academic expertise in judicial politics, judicial process, and analytical methods.

Co-host Jackie Gardina noted, “Despite the importance of the Court and the information it receives, many questions remain unanswered regarding the production of “friends of the court” briefs and their relationship to the Court’s decisions. Hazelton and Hinkle shed light on both who is presenting these briefs and their impact on the Court’s final decisions.”

According to the authors, each year the public, media, and government wait in anticipation for the Supreme Court to announce major decisions. These opinions have shaped legal policy in areas as important as healthcare, marriage, abortion, and immigration. It is not surprising that parties and outside individuals and interest groups invest an estimated $25 million to $50 million a year to produce roughly one thousand amicus briefs to communicate information to the justices, seeking to impact these rulings.

SideBar cohost Mitchel Winick pointed out that “Hazelton and Hinkle investigate the factors that both influence what information litigants and their attorneys provide to the Supreme Court and what the justices and their clerks do with that information in deciding cases that set legal policy for the entire country.”

To listen to current SideBar episodes, read our blog, learn about future guests, and to contact the co-hosts with ideas, comments, or questions, go to

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