Appealing To The United States Supreme Court
The United States Supreme Court is the highest Court in the land, it is the Court of last resort. All of the Federal Circuit Courts and fifty States’ highest Courts appeals may by reviewed by the United States Supreme Court. In fact, the Supreme Court receives thousands of petitions for Certiorari every year from the thirteen Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal and from the highest Courts in all fifty States. All of these requests for Certiorari have one thing in common: they all request that the Supreme Court decide some constitutional issue.
Statistically, getting to the United States Supreme Court is not easy and not likely. Of the thousands of petitions received, the Court usually grants between 70 and 80 of them. The majority of cases that are granted Certiorari come from the Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal, and a much smaller percentage of those cases come from the States’ highest courts.
Every application to be heard by the Supreme Court starts with a Petition for Certiorari. This is a formal request that the Court hear your case, which outlines the issues that you are asking the Court to review. The issues must be Constitutional in nature and must be unique in their essence. Because the Court grants so few petitions, it is very selective as to the issues that it reviews.
If the Court grants the Petition for Certiorari then the case must be briefed and may be argued at oral argument before the Court. If your case is granted Certiorari, your brief will usually be one of many. The Court often calls upon amicus curiae (friends of the court) to write and submit briefs. These are people who are not a party to the case, but who assist the Court with their input, which usually represents a particular perspective that the Court is interested in hearing.
Writing petitions to the U.S. Supreme Court can be very time consuming, expensive, and should be undertaken only by an experienced attorney. Only an experienced appellate advocate will be able to determine whether the issues in your case are Supreme Court ready. There are numerous factors that determine whether or not the Court will grant Cert in your case. One of the factors that the Court looks at is whether the various Circuit Courts are in disagreement on the issue in your case. If the Circuits are deciding the same legal issue in different ways (known as a split of authority amongst the Circuits), the Supreme Court is more likely to grant Certiorari to ensure that all cases are treated in a consistent manner under the law. The same applies to the States’ highest Courts where there is a split of authority from State to State. This is one of the many things that must be researched thoroughly and squarely presented to the Court to maximize the possibility of Certiorari.
If you believe your case is unique or that there is a split of authority in the Circuit Courts or in the States’ highest Court, your case may be eligible for Certiorari to the United States Supreme Court. Contact our office and we will assist you in preparing a petition to the United States Supreme Court.
Call 1-800-APPEALS (1-800-277-3257)