Presentation on theme: "Ch. 12 The Supreme Court. Petitions Stage: by what Routes can Cases Reach the Supreme Court? 1)Petition for Writ of Certiorari – most common Supreme Court."— Presentation transcript:
Petitions Stage: by what Routes can Cases Reach the Supreme Court? 1)Petition for Writ of Certiorari – most common Supreme Court has discretionary power to grant or deny 2)On Appeal – less common Petitioner files a “jurisdictional statement” arguing that the Supreme Court has appellate jurisdiction – usually regards whether a state law is unconstitutional. Supreme Court may hear case or dismiss, affirm or reverse the lower court’s decision. 3)Original Jurisdiction – rare Only cases involving ambassadors or agents of other countries, or cases between states
By What Procedure do Justices Decide Which Cases to Hear? 1)Clerks (usually) look at all petitions, summarize them and note which seem worthy of consideration. 2)Chief justice puts about a third of cases received on a “discuss list.” 3)Chief justice may “invite” solicitor general to submit a brief about a case that involves the federal gov’t. 4)Friday Conference – justices discuss these cases. 5)“Rule of Four” – if four of them want to accept a case, it is accepted. 6)Judges decide whether to issue a quick per curiam decision on the basis of written materials or hear the full case.
By What Criteria do Justices Judge Whether Cases Should be Heard? The decision will make a difference – not just a theoretical point of law. Plaintiff must have suffered actual harm. Case must involve a substantial federal question – it must involve many people, or the operation of the government, or the interpretation of a law. It must not be a political issue that should be decided by legislation. Solicitor general has requested it. Involves disagreement between lower courts. High level of public interest as determined by number of amicus curiae briefs filed.
What are the Steps in a Full Hearing? 1)Petitions Stage (as already described) 2)Merits Stage Submitting briefs, sometimes called “merit briefs” Amicus Curiae briefs may be submitted also 3)Oral Arguments – 30 min. per side 4)The Conference – Wednesdays and Fridays Secret!! 5)Writing the Opinion – during two recess weeks Writer of majority opinions assigned by Chief Justice Others may write dissenting or concurring opinions
Solicitor General Federal government is involved in about two-thirds of all Supreme Court cases. SG is the litigating attorney for the federal government. SG is considered the highest office for a practicing lawyer in the US. SG advocates for the views of the president. When the SG requests that a petition for writ of certiorari be granted, it often is. SG or staff file amicus curiae briefs in most cases involving the federal government. SG is before the Supreme Court so often that he or she is nicknamed the “10 th Justice” SG is the 4 th ranking officer in the Dept. of Justice; has offices both at the DOJ and the Supreme Court.