Among a range of other activities, both organizations sponsor amicus briefs on issues of importance to American justice, as they did to support the Supreme Court appeals of one or more of the Enron Broadband defendants. Amicus briefs can play a crucial role in the appeals process, and the appeals process is a central element in protecting justice in the American legal process.
By way of a brief introduction, an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) is an independent third party who voluntarily provides information about a case under review by the Supreme Court (or other appeals court), typically in the form of a written brief, referred to as an “amicus brief”. Amicus briefs may be provided in support of either the defendant’s or the prosecutors’ positions on the case under review. Amicus briefs can be quite helpful to the Supreme Court Justices reviewing the case because the independent third parties can provide detailed analyses, often combined with a historical perspective, that the defendant and the prosecutors simply do not have an opportunity to address given the word count limitations placed upon their own briefs by the rules of the Supreme Court appeals process.
As an example, in Enron Broadband defendant, Scott Yeager's, successful appeal before the Supreme Court, he was supported by amicus briefs from both the TCDLA and the NACDL. This post on Cara Ellison's Enron Online: The Enron Blog contains information on the TCDLA's brief in that case, and a copy of the NACDL's brief is contained on the NACDL's web pages (click on the Yeager v. United States link).
Thanks to the NACDL and the TCDLA for their exellent work!