Among lawyers who practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, James Bopp, Jr. has been recognized as one of "an elite cadre of lawyers (that) has emerged as first among equals, giving their clients a disproportionate chance to influence the law of the land." So concludes a December 8th Reuters Special Report titled "The Echo Chamber: Influence at the Supreme Court." Reuters based the report on an "examination of nine years of cases." The examination "shows that 66 of the 17,000 lawyers who petitioned the Supreme Court succeeded at getting their clients' appeals heard at a remarkable rate. Their appeals were at least six times more likely to be accepted by the court than were all others filed by private lawyers during that period."
The report lists James Bopp, Jr. of The Bopp Law Firm as among that number. It notes that "[e]ach of the 66 lawyers Reuters identified filed an average of at least one petition a year from 2004 to 2012. And each had at least three petitions that were granted in that period. Both criteria put these lawyers far above the norm." Reuters says this "suggests that the justices essentially have added a new criterion to whether the court takes an appeal--one that goes beyond the merits of a case and extends to the merits of the lawyer who is bringing it."
The reason was provided by Justices interviewed for the report. Reuters quotes Justice Clarence Thomas as observing that "[a]ny number of people will vote against a cert petition if they think the lawyering is bad.” And Justice Antonin Scalia is quoted as saying: “I have never voted to take a case only because a good lawyer was on it. But I have voted against what would be a marginally granted petition when it was not well presented…. where the petition demonstrates that the lawyer is not going to argue it well.”
Reuters notes that law clerks review the petitions asking the Court to accept cases and make summaries for the justices' review. "One fact a clerk may highlight in the memo is the presence of a prominent, highly regarded lawyer who’s involved in the case."
James Bopp, Jr. comments: "Practice before the U.S. Supreme Court differs from practice before other courts. Because the Court's ability to review cases is quite limited, the Justices must carefully decide which cases present vital issues and will be well briefed and argued. It is vital to understand what the justices are looking for."
Bopp's overall record before the U.S. Supreme Court is nine wins among his thirteen cases that the High Court has decided on the merits. This led the Journal of Law in 2012 to identify Bopp as one of the Top Supreme Court Advocates of the Twenty-First Century. In addition, Bopp was named one of the 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America by the National Law Journal in 2013, was recognized as the 2009 Republican Lawyer of the Year by the Republican National Lawyers Association and has been dubbed a "Super Lawyer" by the Washington Times and Mother Jones.
On that day a dozen years ago, the black-robed justices of the U.S. Supreme Court sat behind the elevated bench, facing down at Jim Bopp.
Three hundred other people - lawyers, visitors and journalists - filled chairs and seats behind Bopp in the iconic courtroom in Washington, D.C. Bopp, an attorney whose office sits at the corner of Sixth and Wabash in downtown Terre Haute, was about to argue a case before the highest court in the land for the first time in his legal career. Read the full Washington Times article.
No American who doesn't happen to be a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court has done more to shape how elections are run and won in 2012 than Bopp.
For more than three decades, Bopp has pursued 150 or so legal challenges in at least 40 states aimed at eliminating laws that he thinks gag citizens — including organizations and corporations — from having a voice in democracy.
A conversation with James Bopp Jr., the plaintiffs lawyer who championed Citizens United conducted by University of California Television (UCTV)
Whereas, James Bopp, has faithfully served the National Right to Life Committee for 35 years as General Counsel and has appeared before the United States Supreme Court on several occasions to defend the right to life and the right of pro-life citizens to exercise their freedom of speech; and
Whereas, James Bopp founded and served as President of the National Legal Center for the Medically Dependent and Disabled (1984-2010), whose mission is to protect the rights of indigent persons who has disabilities or serious medical needs to secure essential medical treatment, regardless of age, health, function or condition of dependency or disability, and to protect the rights of persons of disabilities to secure personal assistance services and access to care and treatment;
Whereas, James Bopp has conducted countless workshops and given insightful reports to the NRLC Board of Directors to assist the various affiliates to work within existing law and work within their states to improve laws affecting their work; and
Whereas, James Bopp has successfully represented several state affiliates in courts when state laws place undo and unconstitutional burdens upon their efforts.
Therefore be it resolved that the National Right to Life Board of Directors sitting in Dallas, Texas on June 26, 2013 expresses its gratitude to James Bopp for his enormous contribution to the protection of innocent human life and for his 35 years of service as general counsel to the National Right to Life Committee.
As reported by Law.com
He has been called a "litigation machine," methodically mowing down restrictions on campaign financing and speech. It was conservative GOP activist James Bopp Jr., 65, who devised the legal strategy that led the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United, which upended decades of precedent and unleashed super PACs upon the land. He laid the groundwork for that landmark ruling with his high court victory in Wisconsin Right to Life v. FEC. Limits on judicial candidates' speech and activities. His successes have eroded those restrictions as well. Bopp also serves as general counsel to the James Madison Center for Free Speech.