Warm-up Question: Pretend you are a Supreme Court Justice…What are three factors you would consider when deciding whether to hear a case?

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  • Warm-up Question:Pretend you are a Supreme Court JusticeWhat are three factors you would consider when deciding whether to hear a case?

  • Granting CertThe Supreme Court is not and has never been primarily concerned with the correction of errors in lower court decisions.- Chief Justice Vinson

  • CRITICAL QUESTION: Which types of cases end up at the Supreme Court?

  • Focus On:Case criteria

    Effects of case overload

    Economic status

  • Petition for a Writ of Certiorari

  • Huh?

    Petition: a formal message requesting something that is submitted to an authority Writ of Certiorari: A written order issued by a higher court to a lower court to send up the record of a case for review.

    Petition for a Writ of Certiorari

  • CASE CRITERIA

  • What does a Petition for Cert Contain?

  • Cert-worthy CriteriaConflicts in lower courtsIntolerable Circuit Conflict

    Important QuestionMultiple amicus briefs at cert stageAffects large number of people Special circumstance/Specific Question

  • More Reasons to Deny Than to Grant!A petition that raises too many questions (prefer focusing on one issue)Bad vehicle for reaching this legal issueCase is deemed frivolousInvolves a Political QuestionCant be hypotheticalA better case in the pipeline

  • CASE OVERLOAD

  • How many cert petitions are considered?6,142 IFP Petitions1,596 paid Petitions77 cases argued, 72 decided after argument

    About 1% of all petitions!

    7,738 total Petitions+Statistics compiled from Chief Justice Robertss 2009 Year-End Report on the Federal Judiciary and SCOTUSBlog, 6.29.09 StatPack

  • Cert OverloadWith 8,000 petitions per yearIf a Justice spent 40 hours per week.50 weeks per year ONLY reading cert petitions...

  • Cert Overload15 minutes per petition!

    The Justices cannot possibly read all the cert petitions. They just dont have the time.

  • Cert PoolIN the pool NOT in the poolRobertsScaliaKennedySotomayorThomasGinsburgBreyerKagan

    Alito=4 clerks x 8 justices =32 law clerks

    read 8,000 petitions

    Each clerk reads and writes a memo on 250 petitions/yr4 clerks x 1 justices =4 law clerks

    read 8,000 petitions

    Each clerk reads 2000 petitions/yr

    =

  • Advantages of the PoolSaves timeSomeone is more thoroughly going over each petitionClerks from other chambers can mark up pool memos and give to their justice

  • Disadvantages of the PoolReduces independence amongst justices

    The pool gives clerks too much responsibility for setting the Courts agenda

    Introduces unintended bias into the selection system

  • ECONOMIC STATUS

  • Dont forget: You can copy-paste this slide into other presentations, and move or resize the poll.

  • Who has the best chance of being selected?

    Paid PetitionsPetitions that pay the $300 filing feeIn forma pauperislitigants who cant pay the filing fee (often prisoners)~20% of petitions~80% of petitions3-4% granted0.2% grantedMake up 85-90% of docketMake up 10-15% of docket

    ********Sui Generis - 1 of a kind (U.S. v. Nixon, Bush v. Gore)Legal importance - (when theres confusion in the legal system, ie: sentencing)

    Amicus brief- additional brief filed by someone else such as the ACLU to give more info about a case

    *********Press F5 or enter presentation mode to view the pollIn an emergency during your presentation, if the poll isn't showing, navigate to this link in your web browser:http://www.polleverywhere.com/multiple_choice_polls/LTEyMjA4MDIwNjM

    If you like, you can use this slide as a template for your own voting slides. You might use a slide like this if you feel your audience would benefit from the picture showing a text message on a phone.**