Cato News Notes

September/​October 2018 • Policy Report

The blog Empirical SCOTUS recently attempted to quantify the quality of amicus briefs filed at the Supreme Court using BriefCatch, a popular legal analytical tool that measures briefs’ performances on five criteria: flow, plain English, punchiness, reading happiness, and sentence length. Using this system, they ranked the Cato Institute as the top overall amicus brief filer for the 2017–2018 Supreme Court term. “In an era where some scholars question whether oral arguments have very much utility, briefs — and especially amicus briefs — are thought to play a unique role in Supreme Court decisionmaking,” the blog noted. “High‐​quality writing remains one of the best ways for groups to get the Court’s attention, especially when the group does not have the institutional presence of the United States.”


In June, Cato’s David Bier won “Best Activism Journalism” at the Southern California Journalism Awards for his May 2017 Reason magazine piece, “Why the Wall Won’t Work: The Legal, Practical, Economic, and Moral Case against Trump’s Border Barrier.” The judges called his piece “a thorough, brick‐​by‐​brick explanation why the Trump wall won’t work.”

Turkish journalist and author Mustafa Akyol joined the Cato Institute as a senior fellow in June. A regular contributing opinion writer for the New York Times, Akyol also writes regularly for Turkish publications such as the Hürriyet Daily News and for the Middle East–focused Al​-Mon​i​tor​.com. Akyol is the author of Islam without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty, praised by the Financial Times as “a forthright and elegant Muslim defense of freedom.” His book has been published in multiple languages but was banned in Malaysia after Akyol was arrested by the country’s “religious police” for delivering a lecture on religious freedom.

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