Appeals lost in the Federal Court of Appeals: the writ of certiorari —

The Supreme Court and the “writ of certiorari”

The Court of Appeals has usually the final

word in the case, unless it sends the case back to the trial court for additional proceedings, or the parties must go through a new trial in the District Court.

If the losing party is not satisfied with the Court of Appeals decision, has the right to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, for discretionary review of the case.

The parties are required to file written briefs through their Litigation Law Firm, and the Supreme Court may hear oral arguments.

A litigant who loses in a federal Court of Appeals can file a “petition for a writ of certiorari“, which is a document asking the Supreme Court to review the case. “Certiorari” comes from the Latin and means “to be more fully informed of” or “to be certain in regard to”.

A writ of certiorari orders the Court of Appeals to deliver its record in a case, so that the U.S. Supreme Court may review it. It includes a list of the parties, legal questions presented for review and a statement of the facts of the case.

The Supreme Court does not have to grant review. Certiorari is the common method for cases to be heard before the U.S. Supreme Court since it has specific jurisdiction over a very limited range of disputes. There are also a few special circumstances in which the Supreme Court is required by law to hear an appeal. It gives full consideration to only a small fraction of the cases filed. The Supreme Court accepts 100-150 of the more than 7.500-8.500 that it is asked to review each year. Only in 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court received 7.738 petitions for Writ of Certiorari, that is a 20% increase over the number of cases submitted a decade earlier. Lately, the Supreme Court has decided a number of Immigration Appeals.

The decision to grant or deny certiorari is discretionary and it is issued as simple statement of actions taken, without explanation. If the Court decides to review one or more issues in such a case, it grants “certiorari”. If the Court decides not to review the case, it denies the certiorari. Denial of certiorari occurs in 98% of cases. Denial does not imply that the Supreme Court agrees with the lower court’s decision.

The Supreme Court has its own set of rules. The Court typically will agree to hear a case only when it involves an unusually important legal principle, or when two or more federal appellate courts have interpreted a law differently.

The 28 U.S.C. (United States Code), section § 2101, settled that a direct appeal to the Supreme Court shall be taken withinthirty days after the entry of the interlocutory or final order, judgment or decree and the record shall be made up and the case docketed within sixty days from the time such appeal is taken. Moreover, a petition for a writ of certiorari, both in a civil case, or in Federal Immigration Crime, must be filed with the Clerk of the United States Supreme Court within 90 days after the entry of the judgment.

Four of the nine justices must vote to grant the petition for certiorari. A justice of the Supreme Court, for good cause shown, may extend the time for applying for a writ of certiorari for a period not exceeding sixty days.