Amicus Curiae Briefs

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As an intervener in the Little Sisters Book & Art Emporium v. Canada case and citing several human rights treaties to which Canada is a party, Equality Now successfully argued that the harm-based standard for restricting pornography established by a prior decision of the Canadian Supreme Court should be applied on an equal basis to all, regardless of sexual orientation. The Court’s decision, issued in December 2000, noted Equality Now’s view and highlighted the distinction between sexual expression and harm-based obscenity, holding that everyone has an equal right both to sexual expression and to protection from harm.

As an amicus curiae in the Nguyen v. INS (PDF, 1.3MB, English only) case, Equality Now urged the United States Supreme Court to consider the constitutionality of a discriminatory citizenship law with reference to the equality rights set forth in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the United States is a party, as well as customary international law. In a close decision in June 2001, the US Supreme Court upheld this citizenship law as constitutional.

Equality Now was joined on its brief by:

  • Argentine Association of Women Judges
  • Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association
  • Forum for Women, Law and Development
  • International Commission of Jurists
  • International Federation of Women Jurists
  • International Federation of Women Lawyers
  • International Human Rights Law Group
  • International Women's Rights Action Watch
  • Latin American and Caribbean Committee for the Defense of Women's Rights
  • Women in Law and Development in Africa

In June 2002, The LAW Project filed an amicus curiae brief in the Matter of MZ (PDF, 212K, English and Spanish only), a case found admissible by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, in which the conviction of a Bolivian man for raping a Dutch woman was overturned on appeal by a court that, despite substantial evidence at trial of violent aggression, found that the woman could not have been raped, noting that she was taller than the accused. Similarly, it cited as evidence of consent the fact that she was an adult. Bolivia’s Supreme Court affirmed the acquittal. The LAW Project has provided technical advice to CLADEM and CEJIL, co-petitioners in the case, as well as the Bolivian lawyer from Oficina Jurídica Para la Mujer who brought the case. The brief submitted by The LAW Project focuses on equality arguments and the way in which “rape myths” undermine the right to equal protection of the law. The petitioners and the Bolivian government reached a friendly settlement in May 2008.