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Journey of a Supreme Court Case

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Jonathan Check

on 19 May 2014

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Transcript of Journey of a Supreme Court Case

Journey of a Supreme Court Case
-after discussing a particular case, the Court then votes on their decision in order of seniority
-two groups: majority (self-explanatory; their ruling is carried out) and dissent (minority faction; ruling is not upheld, but they may still explain their reasoning)
-most senior members of majority and dissent each designate a member of their contingent to write an explanation of their opinion
-any justice, majority or dissenting, may explain their own take on the case
-if vote ends in a tie, the lower court's ruling is upeld
-held first two weeks of months October-December, last two weeks of months January-April, Monday-Wednesday unless otherwise specified; typically two cases heard per day
-lawyer from each side of the case has a half-hour to make case to judges, though most time is spent answering questions that the justices had after reading briefs
-thirty minutes can be broken up (i.e. saving time to rebut the opposition)
-again, the solicitor general represents the federal government, and may provide the government's input about the case, even if they are not a party involved
-petitioner, then respondent, gives an explanation of their side of the case that is fifty pages or less
-shorter briefs are then filed in response to the opposition's inital brief
-Amicus Curiae (friend of the court): with permission from the Court, uninvolved
parties may present briefs
pertinent to the case
-soliitor general is reponsible
for filing briefs on behalf of
the federal government
Step 3: Briefs
-held Wednesday and Friday afternoons while Court is in session; lone Friday conference if Court is not in session
-justices consult with their law clerks (recent top-of-their-class graduates from prestigious law schools who assist justices in preparation and research for cases) to get different opinions about the cases before they hold
-start by discussing which
petitioned cases they will accept
and grant certiorari to
-justices then discuss previously-
heard cases and give uninterrupted
opinions in order of seniority
Step 5: Conference
Step 6: Opinion
Step 4: Oral Arguments (Hearing)
Step 1: Case Appealed
Step 2: Writs of Certiorari
-case typically appears before a lower court first
-appealed if one party feels the decision by a lower court was unfair
-Rule of Four: four Supreme Court justices must vote to accept the case and grant it certiorari
Works Cited

-order from appelate court (in this case, the Supreme Court) to receive record of the case from a lower court
-ensures that same situation is analyzed by both the lower and Supreme Courts
Full transcript