The Supreme Court. How a case makes it to & through the Supreme Court October – May (sometimes June). Each state comprises at least one U.S. judicial district (94). The nation is divided into 12 judicial circuits. The graphs show increasing federal caseloads.
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How a case makes it to & through the Supreme Court
October – May (sometimes June)
Each state comprises at least one U.S. judicial district (94). The nation is divided into 12 judicial circuits. The graphs show increasing federal caseloads.
3. personal injury (tort law – civil not criminal ; ex. Auto accident)
4. contract law (marriage/divorce/adoption)
5. family law
6. environmental law
7. Education law
The Supreme Court will only accept cases if uniformity is important for the country or if lower courts are conflicted on the interpretation of the constitutionality of law.
300,000 federal cases per year
100,00 federal appeals per year
8,000 appeal to the Supreme Court
90 – 100 accepted
What happens if the Supreme Court refuses to hear a case?
What happens if the justices decision is tied?
Front row: Associate Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, John Paul Stevens, Chief JusticeJohn G. Roberts, Antonin G. Scalia, and Clarence Thomas.Back row: Associate Justices Samuel A. Alito, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor.
Rule of Four- at least 4 of the 9 justices must agree that a case should be put on the Court’s docket
Writ of certiorari (to be made more certain) – an order by the Court directing the lower court to send up the record in the case.
Certificate (fewer cases) – this process is used when a lowe court is not clear about the prodedure or the rule of law that should apply in a case. The lower court asks the S.C. to certify the answer to a specific question in the matter.
Briefs - (amicus curiae briefs)
Oral arguments – (Oct to May) – 2 week cycles –(M,T,W & sometimes Thurs) – 30 min max
Opinions – majority – stand as precedents
concurrent – making emphasizing a point not made in the dissenting
(become precedents – examples to be followed in similar cases)
On page 451 you have a picture of Clarence Earl Gideon. Here is what Robert F. Kennedy remarked about the Gideon case, "If an obscure Florida convict named Clarence Earl Gideon had not sat down in prison with a pencil and paper to write a letter to the Supreme Court; and if the Supreme Court had not taken the trouble to look at the merits in that one crude petition among all the bundles of mail it must receive every day, the vast machinery of American law would have gone on functioning undisturbed. But Gideon did write that letter; the court did look into his case; he was re-tried with the help of competent defense counsel; found not guilty and released from prison after two years of punishment for a crime he did not commit. And the whole course of legal history has been changed."[