Of all the cases appealed to the Supreme Court each year, only 1% of them get heard.How do they get there?
Original Jurisdiction › What are the two circumstances where the Supreme Court has Original Jurisdiction? From lower courts › Writ of Certiorari › On Appeal
An order from the Supreme Court to send up records from a lower court case for review People can petition the Court for certiorari › Must argue that the lower court made a mistake or… › The case involves a constitutional issue Only 10% get accepted
Decision of a lower federal or state court has been requested to be reviewed Few cases arrive on appeal If a case is dismissed, the decision of the lower court stands
Cases worthy of consideration get put on the “discuss list” (about 1/3) If four of the justices agree to hear the case, it will be heard Per CuriamOpinion- Court rules quickly on the basis of written materials only Brief, unsigned statement of the court’s opinion
1. Submitting briefs 2. Oral Arguments 3. The Conference 4. Writing the Opinion
Written statement from lawyers › Legal arguments › Relevant facts › Precedents Amicus Curiae Brief › “friend of the court” › Briefs from interest groups/govt. agencies who are not directly involved, but have an interest in the case
Each lawyer gets 30 min to summarize their key points Justices may interrupt and ask questions Time warning- › White light (5 min) › Red light- stop talking immediately
TOP SECRET The nine justices meet wed. and fri. to discuss the cases they have heard No records are kept No one else is allowed in the room When they leave, they have a decision › Need majority to make ruling
Unanimous decision- all agree Majority opinion- most of justices Concurring opinion- agree with majority’s opinion, but for different reasons Dissenting opinion- justices on the losing side
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