Amicus curiae briefs are significant because
A. Interest groups aren’t allowed to file them, which in turn limits their influence.
B. They may influence whether the Supreme Court decides to hear a case.
C. Public interest groups file them more often than do economic interest groups, giving the former an advantage before the Court.
D. Only the government may file them, giving added weight to the government’s positions.
E. The Supreme Court uses them to “call up” a case.
Of the options given in this question, the best answer is Option B. Amicus curiae briefs are sometimes used by the Supreme Court to help them decide whether to take a case.
Many cases are appealed to the Supreme Court each year. It can and will only hear a very small fraction of those cases. In general, they want to hear the cases that seem most interesting and most important. When a group submits an amicus brief about a case that is being appealed to the Supreme Court, it can make it seem that that case is more important than other cases that do not have amicus briefs.
All of the rest of the answers are simply not true. Interest groups of all sorts can and do file amicus briefs. The Court may use them in considering whether to hear a case, but it does not actually use the briefs to “call up” the case.
Option B is the best answer.