PART VI. BRIEFS ON THE MERITS AND ORAL ARGUMENT
Rule 24. Briefs on the Merits: In General
1. A brief on the merits for a petitioner or an appellant
shall comply in all respects with Rules 33.1 and 34 and shall
contain in the order here indicated:
(a) The questions presented for review under Rule 14.1(a).
The questions shall be set out on the first page following the
cover, and no other information may appear on that page.
The phrasing of the questions presented need not be identi-
cal with that in the petition for a writ of certiorari or the
jurisdictional statement, but the brief may not raise addi-
tional questions or change the substance of the questions
already presented in those documents. At its option, how-
ever, the Court may consider a plain error not among the
questions presented but evident from the record and other-
wise within its jurisdiction to decide.
(b) A list of all parties to the proceeding in the court
whose judgment is under review (unless the caption of the
case in this Court contains the names of all parties). Any
amended corporate disclosure statement as required by Rule
29.6 shall be placed here.
(c) If the brief exceeds five pages, a table of contents and
a table of cited authorities.
(d) Citations of the official and unofficial reports of the
opinions and orders entered in the case by courts and admin-
(e) A concise statement of the basis for jurisdiction in this
Court, including the statutory provisions and time factors on
which jurisdiction rests.
(f) The constitutional provisions, treaties, statutes, ordi-
nances, and regulations involved in the case, set out verba-
tim with appropriate citation.
If the provisions involved are
lengthy, their citation alone suffices at this point, and their
pertinent text, if not already set out in the petition for a
writ of certiorari, jurisdictional statement, or an appendix to
either document, shall be set out in an appendix to the brief.
(g) A concise statement of the case, setting out the facts
material to the consideration of the questions presented,
with appropriate references to the joint appendix, e. g., App.
12, or to the record, e. g., Record 12.
(h) A summary of the argument, suitably paragraphed.
The summary should be a clear and concise condensation of
the argument made in the body of the brief; mere repetition
of the headings under which the argument is arranged is
(i) The argument, exhibiting clearly the points of fact and
of law presented and citing the authorities and statutes re-
(j) A conclusion specifying with particularity the relief
the party seeks.
2. A brief on the merits for a respondent or an appellee
shall conform to the foregoing requirements, except that
items required by subparagraphs 1(a), (b), (d), (e), (f), and (g)
of this Rule need not be included unless the respondent or
appellee is dissatisfied with their presentation by the oppos-
3. A brief on the merits may not exceed the page limita-
tions specified in Rule 33.1(g). An appendix to a brief may
include only relevant material, and counsel are cautioned not
to include in an appendix arguments or citations that prop-
erly belong in the body of the brief.
4. A reply brief shall conform to those portions of this
Rule applicable to the brief for a respondent or an appellee,
but, if appropriately divided by topical headings, need not
contain a summary of the argument.
5. A reference to the joint appendix or to the record set
out in any brief shall indicate the appropriate page number.
If the reference is to an exhibit, the page numbers at which
the exhibit appears, at which it was offered in evidence, and
at which it was Ruled on by the judge shall be indicated, e. g.,
Pl. Exh. 14, Record 199, 2134.
6. A brief shall be concise, logically arranged with proper
headings, and free of irrelevant, immaterial, or scandalous
matter. The Court may disregard or strike a brief that does
not comply with this paragraph.
Rule 25. Briefs on the Merits: Number of Copies and
Time to File
1. The petitioner or appellant shall file 40 copies of the
brief on the merits within 45 days of the order granting the
writ of certiorari, noting probable jurisdiction, or postponing
consideration of jurisdiction. Any respondent or appellee
who supports the petitioner or appellant shall meet the peti-
tioner's or appellant's time schedule for filing documents.
2. The respondent or appellee shall file 40 copies of the
brief on the merits within 35 days after the brief for the
petitioner or appellant is filed.
3. The petitioner or appellant shall file 40 copies of the
reply brief, if any, within 35 days after the brief for the
respondent or appellee is filed, but any reply brief must
actually be received by the Clerk not later than one week
before the date of oral argument. Any respondent or appellee
supporting the petitioner or appellant may file a reply brief.
4. The time periods stated in paragraphs 1 and 2 of this
Rule may be extended as provided in Rule 30. An applica-
tion to extend the time to file a brief on the merits is not
favored. If a case is advanced for hearing, the time to file
briefs on the merits may be abridged as circumstances re-
quire pursuant to an order of the Court on its own motion or
that of a party.
5. A party wishing to present late authorities, newly
enacted legislation, or other intervening matter that was not
available in time to be included in a brief may file 40 copies
of a supplemental brief, restricted to such new matter and
otherwise presented in conformity with these Rules, up to
the time the case is called for oral argument or by leave of
the Court thereafter.
6. After a case has been argued or submitted, the Clerk
will not file any brief, except that of a party filed by leave of
7. The Clerk will not file any brief that is not accompanied
by proof of service as required by Rule 29.
Rule 26. Joint Appendix
1. Unless the Clerk has allowed the parties to use the de-
ferred method described in paragraph 4 of this Rule, the
petitioner or appellant, within 45 days after entry of the
order granting the writ of certiorari, noting probable juris-
diction, or postponing consideration of jurisdiction, shall file
40 copies of a joint appendix, prepared as required by Rule
33.1. The joint appendix shall contain: (1) the relevant
docket entries in all the courts below; (2) any relevant plead-
ings, jury instructions, findings, conclusions, or opinions; (3)
the judgment, order, or decision under review; and (4) any
other parts of the record that the parties particularly wish to
bring to the Court's attention. Any of the foregoing items
already reproduced in a petition for a writ of certiorari, ju-
risdictional statement, brief in opposition to a petition for a
writ of certiorari, motion to dismiss or affirm, or any appen-
dix to the foregoing, that was prepared as required by Rule
33.1, need not be reproduced again in the joint appendix.
The petitioner or appellant shall serve three copies of the
joint appendix on each of the other parties to the proceeding
as required by Rule 29.
2. The parties are encouraged to agree on the contents of
the joint appendix. In the absence of agreement, the peti-
tioner or appellant, within 10 days after entry of the order
granting the writ of certiorari, noting probable jurisdiction,
or postponing consideration of jurisdiction, shall serve on the
respondent or appellee a designation of parts of the record
to be included in the joint appendix. Within 10 days after
receiving the designation, a respondent or appellee who con-
siders the parts of the record so designated insufficient shall
serve on the petitioner or appellant a designation of addi-
tional parts to be included in the joint appendix, and the
petitioner or appellant shall include the parts so designated.
If the Court has permitted the respondent or appellee to
proceed in forma pauperis, the petitioner or appellant may
seek by motion to be excused from printing portions of the
record the petitioner or appellant considers unnecessary. In
making these designations, counsel should include only those
materials the Court should examine; unnecessary designa-
tions should be avoided. The record is on file with the Clerk
and available to the Justices, and counsel may refer in briefs
and in oral argument to relevant portions of the record not
included in the joint appendix.
3. When the joint appendix is filed, the petitioner or appel-
lant immediately shall file with the Clerk a statement of the
cost of printing 50 copies and shall serve a copy of the state-
ment on each of the other parties as required by Rule 29.
Unless the parties agree otherwise, the cost of producing
the joint appendix shall be paid initially by the petitioner or
appellant; but a petitioner or appellant who considers that
parts of the record designated by the respondent or appellee
are unnecessary for the determination of the issues pre-
sented may so advise the respondent or appellee, who then
shall advance the cost of printing the additional parts, unless
the Court or a Justice otherwise fixes the initial allocation of
the costs. The cost of printing the joint appendix is taxed as
a cost in the case, but if a party unnecessarily causes matter
to be included in the joint appendix or prints excessive cop-
ies, the Court may impose these costs on that party.
4. (a) On the parties' request, the Clerk may allow prepa-
ration of the joint appendix to be deferred until after the
briefs have been filed. In that event, the petitioner or ap-
pellant shall file the joint appendix no more than 14 days
after receiving the brief for the respondent or appellee. The
provisions of paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of this Rule shall be
followed, except that the designations referred to therein
shall be made by each party when that party's brief is
served. Deferral of the joint appendix is not favored.
(b) If the deferred method is used, the briefs on the merits
may refer to the pages of the record. In that event, the
joint appendix shall include in brackets on each page thereof
the page number of the record where that material may be
found. A party wishing to refer directly to the pages of the
joint appendix may serve and file copies of its brief prepared
as required by Rule 33.2 within the time provided by Rule
25, with appropriate references to the pages of the record.
In that event, within 10 days after the joint appendix is filed,
copies of the brief prepared as required by Rule 33.1 contain-
ing references to the pages of the joint appendix in place of,
or in addition to, the initial references to the pages of the
record, shall be served and filed. No other change may be
made in the brief as initially served and filed, except that
typographical errors may be corrected.
5. The joint appendix shall be prefaced by a table of con-
tents showing the parts of the record that it contains, in the
order in which the parts are set out, with references to the
pages of the joint appendix at which each part begins. The
relevant docket entries shall be set out after the table of
contents, followed by the other parts of the record in chrono-
logical order. When testimony contained in the reporter's
transcript of proceedings is set out in the joint appendix, the
page of the transcript at which the testimony appears shall
be indicated in brackets immediately before the statement
that is set out. Omissions in the transcript or in any other
document printed in the joint appendix shall be indicated by
asterisks. Immaterial formal matters (e. g., captions, sub-
scriptions, acknowledgments) shall be omitted. A question
and its answer may be contained in a single paragraph.
6. Exhibits designated for inclusion in the joint appendix
may be contained in a separate volume or volumes suitably
indexed. The transcript of a proceeding before an adminis-
trative agency, board, commission, or officer used in an action
in a district court or court of appeals is regarded as an ex-
hibit for the purposes of this paragraph.
7. The Court, on its own motion or that of a party, may
dispense with the requirement of a joint appendix and may
permit a case to be heard on the original record (with such
copies of the record, or relevant parts thereof, as the Court
may require) or on the appendix used in the court below, if
it conforms to the requirements of this Rule.
8. For good cause, the time limits specified in this Rule
may be shortened or extended by the Court or a Justice, or
by the Clerk under Rule 30.4.
Rule 27. Calendar
1. From time to time, the Clerk will prepare a calendar of
cases ready for argument. A case ordinarily will not be
called for argument less than two weeks after the brief on
the merits for the respondent or appellee is due.
2. The Clerk will advise counsel when they are required
to appear for oral argument and will publish a hearing list
in advance of each argument session for the convenience of
counsel and the information of the public.
3. The Court, on its own motion or that of a party, may
order that two or more cases involving the same or related
questions be argued together as one case or on such other
terms as the Court may prescribe.
Rule 28. Oral Argument
1. Oral argument should emphasize and clarify the written
arguments in the briefs on the merits. Counsel should as-
sume that all Justices have read the briefs before oral argu-
ment. Oral argument read from a prepared text is not
2. The petitioner or appellant shall open and may conclude
the argument. A cross-writ of certiorari or cross-appeal
will be argued with the initial writ of certiorari or appeal as
one case in the time allowed for that one case, and the Court
will advise the parties who shall open and close.
3. Unless the Court directs otherwise, each side is allowed
one-half hour for argument. Counsel is not required to use
all the allotted time. Any request for additional time to
argue shall be presented by motion under Rule 21 no more
than 15 days after the petitioner's or appellant's brief on the
merits is filed, and shall set out specifically and concisely why
the case cannot be presented within the half-hour limitation.
Additional time is rarely accorded.
4. Only one attorney will be heard for each side, except by
leave of the Court on motion filed no more than 15 days after
the respondent's or appellee's brief on the merits is filed.
Any request for divided argument shall be presented by mo-
tion under Rule 21 and shall set out specifically and concisely
why more than one attorney should be allowed to argue.
Divided argument is not favored.
5. Regardless of the number of counsel participating in
oral argument, counsel making the opening argument shall
present the case fairly and completely and not reserve points
of substance for rebuttal.
6. Oral argument will not be allowed on behalf of any
party for whom a brief has not been filed.
7. By leave of the Court, and subject to paragraph 4 of
this Rule, counsel for an amicus curiae whose brief has been
filed as provided in Rule 37 may argue orally on the side of
a party, with the consent of that party. In the absence of
consent, counsel for an amicus curiae may seek leave of the
Court to argue orally by a motion setting out specifically and
concisely why oral argument would provide assistance to the
Court not otherwise available. Such a motion will be
granted only in the most extraordinary circumstances.