ISAR as Friend-of-the Court

i March 8, 2008



ISAR has long used the legal system in behalf of animal rights.We sued the United States government to stop the slaughter of millions of blackbirds.

We sued to compel the slaughterers of livestock animals to comply with the federal Humane Slaughter Act, and to close a glaring unconstitutional loophole.

ISAR’s chairman and general counsel, Professor Henry Mark Holzer, has for decades provided legal, strategic, and tactical advice to a wide range of animal rights/welfare organizations and their lawyers in cases involving the protection and advancement of animal rights.

Four of ISAR’s major cases, spanning more than three decades, are:

Jones v. Butz, 374 F.Supp. 1284 (SDNY, three-judge court, 1974), where Professor Holzer in behalf of Helen Jones, ISAR, and other plaintiffs challenged sections of the federal Humane Methods of Livestock Slaughter Act on the ground that its religious exemption—which effectively nullified the act’s protection for countless livestock animals—violated the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Jones v. Beame, 45 N.Y.2d 402 (1978), where Professor Holzer in behalf of Helen Jones and ISAR sued to close the Central Park zoo in New York City on the ground that the treatment of the animals confined there violated the anti-cruelty statutes of the State of New York.

Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v. City of Hialeah, Florida, 508 U.S. 520 (1993), where Professor Holzer in behalf of ISAR and eleven other animal protection organizations filed amicus curiae (friend-of-the-court) briefs in the Supreme Court of the United States in support of Hialeah’s ordinance that prohibited the Santeria cult from sacrificing animals as part of an alleged religious ceremony.

O’Sullivan v. City of San Diego, 2007 WL 2570783 (2007)—a case which attempted to protect the federal recognized seal rookery at Casa Beach in La Jolla, California, from depredation by swimmers and fishermen— where Professor Holzer in behalf of ISAR and several other animal protection organizations consulted with the lawyers for the plaintiffs and submitted amicus curiae briefs in the California Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of the State of California.

The City of Hialeah and City of San Diego cases are good examples of ISAR’s amicus curiae participation in animal rights cases on the appellate level.

Some history is instructive.

In the two decades between 1938 and 1958, the Jehovah Witnesses legal team won 44 of 55 cases they brought to the Supreme Court of the United States. The issues included free speech, and free exercise/establishment of religion. In the 1989 term of the Supreme Court of the United States, the Washington Legal Foundation filed amicus curiae briefs in twelve percent of the cases. The efforts of the NAACP and ACLU in state and federal appeal courts need no elaboration.Increasingly, there are animal cases in appellate courts all over the country, involving experimentation, hunting, farming, sport, education, spay/neuter, and more—and needing amicus curiae briefs from a pro-animal perspective.

There’s a lot of appellate work for lawyers who would use the legal system in behalf of animal rights.

Any lawyer seriously interested in providing appellate services for this cause should provide us with the following information:

1. Name.
2. Firm name.
3. Office address.
4. Telephone and fax number(s).
5. Email address.
6. Year(s) admitted to practice, and jurisdiction(s).
7. Specialization(s), if any.
8. Post-law school judicial clerkship(s), if any.
9. Judicial experience, if any.
10. Experience with animal-related cases, if any.
11. Amount of time available annually.
12. Whether your firm has a formal pro bono program.

Although at the initial stages of the amicus brief—issue analysis, tactics and strategy, etc.—Professor Holzer, will be involved and will be named on the brief with the volunteer counsel, the work product will be theirs. So, too, will be the responsibility for any necessary “leave” applications and production and filing of the brief(s).

If, for whatever reason, one’s firm is unable or unwilling to bear the costs of the brief’s production and filing, ISAR will pay them.

Professor Holzer can be contacted at