Law360 and NorthJersey.com quote Bill Pittard regarding amicus brief, filed on behalf of former General Counsels of the U.S. House of Representatives in the Supreme Court of the United States
On January 11, 2017, KaiserDillon partner Bill Pittard filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court of the United States, supporting a request by Robert Menendez, U.S. Senator from New Jersey, to have the Supreme Court hear the case. Several news publications reported on the filing, particularly given the important separation of powers issues implicated by the case. Those issues include how courts are to identify what conduct is legislative such that it is immune from prosecution by the Department of Justice.
Articles in Law360 and NorthJersey.com (a Gannett publication), reporting on the amicus brief, quoted Pittard, “The Third Circuit’s scrutiny of a Member’s motives is clearly impermissible.” The articles also noted Pittard’s argument that questioning legislative motives is “precisely what the Speech or Debate Clause generally forecloses from executive and judicial inquiry.” “It is simply not consonant with our scheme of government for a court to inquire into the motives of legislators,” Pittard wrote, quoting an earlier Supreme Court decision in which the Court upheld a decision that the Speech or Debate Clause prevented judicial inquiry into the motivation for a Congressman’s speech.
Pittard’s brief is on behalf of former General Counsels of the U.S. House of Representatives, who served across the past five decades and under the past eight Speakers of the House. Specifically, Pittard’s brief is on behalf of Kerry W. Kircher, Geraldine R. Gennet, Thomas J. Spulak, Steven R. Ross, and Stanley M. Brand.