Reed v. Goertz

Brief of National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU Foundation Of Texas, Inc., the Cato Institute and the Rutherford Institute As Amici Curiae Supporting Petitioner.

Brief filed: 07/08/2022


Reed v. Goertz

United States Supreme Court; Case No. 21-442

Prior Decision

Decision below 995 F.3d 425 (5th Cir. 2021)


NACDL’s amicus brief argues that the Fifth and Seventh Circuits’ rule would require § 1983 plaintiffs to initiate parallel federal litigation, contrary to principles of judicial economy, federalism, comity, and constitutional avoidance. Federal courts generally would stay a parallel § 1983 action under Pullman. Federal courts also may stay a parallel § 1983 action for declaratory relief. If federal courts do not stay a parallel § 1983 action, they risk making constitutional decisions unnecessarily or based on erroneous interpretations of state law. The Fifth and Seventh Circuits’ rule is unworkable and has no discernible benefit, despite its significant costs.


Sean M. SeLegue and Liam E. O’Connor, Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP, San Francisco, CA; Barbara E. Bergman, NACDL, Tucson, AZ; David D. Cole, American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, Washington, DC; Adriana Pinon and Savannah Kumar, ACLU Foundation of Texas, Inc., Houston, TX; Clark, M. Neily III and Jay R. Schweikert, Cato Institute, Washington, DC; John W. Whitehead and William Winters, The Rutherford Institute, Charlottesville, VA.


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