How do Supreme Court justices choose which cases to hear? 1. Look for broad, sweeping issues 2. Look at petitions from litigants wanting to appeal to them Then, each justice makes a list – a discuss list – of what cases they would most like to see
The justices meet in secret with their discuss lists Starting with the most junior justice, they bring up cases and talk about them In order to hear a case, 4 justices have to say they want to hear it Granting cert. is agreeing to hear a case
Rule of 4 4 is not a majority The 4 that want to hear a certain case have to be sure that they can get a 5 th judge to side with them Its a strategic process
Cue Theory Realistically, there are lots of cases that come to the court and are not read or studied – it would be impossible to read/study all of them Justices (and their clerks) look for specific characteristics or cues
Cues 1.Issues – accept constitutional issues/civil liberties 2.Conflicting rules – when lower courts disagreed 3.Lawyers – good attorneys they have seen before have an influence 4.Amicus Curiae briefs – more likely to accept cases with briefs that ask them NOT to hear the case
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