Civil Rights Amicus Brief Project

As part of its mission to advance civil rights through advocacy, the Korematsu Center is engaged in drafting, as well as signing on to, amicus briefs on cutting-edge issues facing the courts. In this project, the Center is particularly committed to the process of democratizing the courts—ensuring that the voices of those affected by the courts' decisions are heard.

Through its Amicus Committee, made up of Korematsu Faculty Fellows Christian Halliburton, Julie Shapiro, Andy Siegel, and John Strait, and the Center's Director, Robert Chang, the Center has signed on to a number of amicus briefs in civil rights cases across the country.

Amicus Briefs

The Center has authored a number of amicus briefs in civil rights cases, many in partnership with outside members of the practicing bar and other community and advocacy organizations.

2015

In re Simon Shiao Tam | Racially Disparaging Marks

Ninth Circuit, co-authored with the South Asian Bar Association of Washington, D.C. and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association

While the Washington Redskins trademark dispute has garnered national attention, a lesser-known case that is before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit may determine whether the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had the authority to rescind the Washington Redskins trademark. The amicus brief urges the court to recognize that federal registration of a disparaging mark implicates the government, and to not make the federal trademark registry a place where racism is recorded and authorized, and to not require our government to perpetuate racism.
Read the In re Simon Shiao Tam brief.
Read the news article.

2014

EEOC v. Evans Fruit Co., Inc. | Bias in Closing Argument

Ninth Circuit, representing Asian Bar Association of Washington, Latina/o Bar Association of Washington, Loren Miller Bar Association, South Asian Bar Association of Washington, and Vietnamese American Bar Association of Washington

This was a Civil Rights Amicus Clinic case supporting plaintiff-intervenor's request for a new trial based on improper racialization of the case, and specifically educating the court about the dangers of implicit in-group favoritism that could have manifested between the all-white jury and the white owners of the defendant corporation.
Read the EEOC v. Evans Fruit Co., Inc. brief.

2012

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Naiel Nassar, M.D. | Diversity in Professional Schools

United States Supreme Court, representing the Committee of Interns and Residents SEIU, Doctors Council SEIU, and Korean American Medical Association

This was a Civil Rights Amicus Clinic brief asking the Court to safeguard the anti-retaliation protections of Title VII for employees who report discrimination.
Read the UTSWMC v. Nassar brief.
Read the news article.

2011

Katare v. Katare, 2011 | National Origin Profiles

Washington Court of Appeals & Washington Supreme Court, representing the Asian Bar Association of Washington, the Pacific Northwest District of the Japanese American Citizens League, and the Vietnamese Bar Association of Washington

The Center has filed two amicus briefs in a child custody case, Katare v. Katare, asking the court to protect against the use of unfounded assumptions related to a parent's national origin.
Read the Katare v. Katare September 2011 brief.
Read the Katare v. Katare April 2010 brief.

State v. Solis-Diaz | Juvenile Justice

Washington Court of Appeals

In December 2011, the Center filed an amicus brief arguing that it is unconstitutional to sentence a 16-year-old to jail for 92-1/2 years for a non-homicide offense, and discussing scientific support for the fact that juveniles, by virtue of brain development, are less culpable and more capable of redemption than adult offenders.
Read the State v. Solis-Diaz brief.

State v. Meneese | Juvenile Justice

Washington Supreme Court

In December 2011, the Center filed an amicus brief arguing that a police officer's search of a student on school grounds must be measured by the same standards as police officer searches elsewhere, not a lower standard that applies to searches by school principals and teachers.  The brief assert that juveniles of color are particularly impacted by violations of rights within the criminal justice system.
Read the State v. Meneese brief.

2010

Katare v. Katare, 2010 | National Origin Profiles

For description, see entry for second filing, in 2011.

2009

Turner v. Stime | Jury Bias

Washington Court of Appeals, representing the Asian Bar Association of Washington, South Asian Bar Association of Washington, and Washington Women Lawyers

On September 11, 2009, the Korematsu Center filed its first amicus brief in the case of Turner v. Stime, a case involving comments about counsel's race during jury deliberations.
Read the Turner v. Stime brief.