What does amicus curiae mean?
Amicus curiae is Latin for “friend of the court.” More specifically, amicus curiae refers to a qualified person who is not a party to a particular legal action but who gives information to the court on a question of law. One function of an amicus curiae is to call attention to some information that might escape the court’s attention. An amicus curiae brief is one submitted by someone who is not a party to a lawsuit which is intended to give the court information needed to make a proper decision, or to urge a particular result on behalf of the public interest or of a private interest of third parties who will be affected by the resolution of the dispute. Here, the ACLU filed an amicus brief because of the constitutional issues implicated in the case and contends that the identity of someone who has anonymously posted information on the Internet should only be revealed when necessary.