How the Suprme Court Works (Part 3 of 4)

Hello guys! This is part three of four of my mini series on How the Supreme Court Works. As written before, I believe people should fully understand how the Supreme Court functions because it has impacted our country immensely. I gave you three landmark court cases that have contributed to integration of public schools, legalization of abortion and the comprehension that federal law will override state law. But if you guys are wondering just how many cases land in front of the Supreme Court Justices, you’re in luck because in this post I will write how the Supreme Court picks which case to hear.

Not just any case can be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. A case must involve an issue of federal law or otherwise fall within the jurisdiction of federal courts.  This means your case must have standing!

Let’s assume that the case is capable of being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, the first step, most of the time, is to file a lawsuit in your local state or federal court. The trial judge consider legal arguments from each side before making a decision. If you lose in part or whole, you can then appeal your case to a higher court. When you have appealed as far as possible, you can consider appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The next step is to prepare a “petition for certiorari.” This is the document the Court will read in order to decide whether to hear a case. In that document, you will include a history of your case, the basic facts, and the important legal issues that your case faces. Your opponent will also have a chance to file a response, and other interested parties may file briefs in support or against the petition. Your file will then go to a pool of Supreme Court clerks, who will review all of the documents, summarize them for the justices, and include a recommendation on whether to take the case. The justices then make a final decision. If they decide to hear a case, they will issue a “writ of certiorari.”

But just what chance do you have for your case to be heard? Chances are very slim. The Supreme Court receives about 10,000 petitions for certiorari a year, but only hears about 80 of them. Good luck and may the odds be ever in your favor!


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