Parties who are not satisfied with the decision of a lower court must petition the U.S. Supreme Court to hear their case. The primary means to petition the court for review is to ask it to grant a writ of certiorari. This is a request that the Supreme Court order a lower court to send up the record of the case for review. The Court usually is not under any obligation to hear these cases, and it usually only does so if the case could have national significance, might harmonize conflicting decisions in the federal Circuit courts, and/or could have precedential value. In fact, the Court accepts 100-150 of the more than 7,000 cases that it is asked to review each year. Typically, the Court hears cases that have been decided in either an appropriate U.S. Court of Appeals or the highest Court in a given state (if the state court decided a Constitutional issue).
While it is the prerogative of every Justice to read each petition for certiorari himself/herself, many participate in what is informally known as the "cert pool." As petitions for certiorari come in on a weekly basis, they are divided among the participating Justices. The participating Justices divide their petitions among their law clerks. The law clerks, in turn, read the petitions assigned to them, write a brief memorandum about the case, and make a recommendation as to whether the case should be accepted or not. The Justice provides these memoranda and recommendations to the other Justices at a Justices' Conference.
If the Justices decide to accept a case (grant a petition for certiorari), the case is placed on the docket. According to the Supreme Court's rules, the petitioner has a certain amount of time to write a brief, not to exceed 50 pages, putting forth his/her legal case concerning the issue on which the Court granted review. After the petitioner's brief has been filed, the other party, known as the respondent, is given a certain amount of time to file a respondent's brief. This brief is also not to exceed 50 pages.
The writ of certiorari consists in a request send to the Supreme Court to order a lower court to send up the record of the case for review. There is no obligation of the Supreme Court to hear these cases, it only happens if could have national significance, or might harmonize conflicting decisions in the federal circuit courts, or could have precedential value.
The supreme Court has its own set of rules. Four of the nine Justices must vote to accept the case. Five of the nine Justices must vote in order to grant stay. Each Justice is allowed to have three to four law clerks per Court term. If the Justices decide to accept a case the case is placed on the docket. The court hear oral arguments, which are open to public. When the oral arguments are finished the Justices have to decide the case.
From the day the 2nd Circuit denies his petition for rehearing en banc, Mr. Lyon has ninety days to file a petition for a writ of certiorari (often called a cert. petition), which is a brief asking the Supreme Court to hear his case. (If Mr. Lyon had won in the lower courts, the zoo could have filed a cert. petition.) In most circumstances, the Supreme Court has discretion whether or not to grant review of a particular case. Of the 7,000 to 8,000 cert. petitions filed each Term, the court grants cert. and hears oral argument in only about 80. Granting a cert. petition requires the votes of four justices.
After the BIO has been filed, Mr. Lyon can file a reply brief, rebutting the points made by the zoo in the BIO and reiterating the arguments made in his cert. petition. Unlike the cert. petition and the BIO, which must be filed with the court under strict deadlines, the exact timing of the reply brief varies. A general rule of thumb, though, is that a reply brief should be filed approximately ten days after filing of the BIO.
The Supreme Court normally hears oral arguments between October and April, scheduling them into monthly two-week sittings during which the court hears two (although sometimes one or three) arguments per day on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Generally, the court allots one hour of argument time for each case, with each party speaking for thirty minutes.
Certiorari, also referred to as a "writ of certiorari," is a legal term. It is derived from the Latin word certiorare, which means "to be fully informed." It is most commonly associated with the U.S. Supreme Court, which uses certiorari to decide which cases it hears. In order for the Supreme Court to issue a writ of certiorari, at least four justices must agree to hear the case.
A losing party files a petition for a writ of certiorari with a higher court. The petition is a formal request for the higher court to review the lower court judgment against the party petitioning. The petition must include the names of all parties in the case, as well as the facts and legal questions of the case and an argument as to why the higher court ought to agree to hear the case.
If the higher court agrees to hear the case, known as granting cert, it issues a writ of certiorari to the lower court. This writ requires the lower court to provide the higher court with a physical copy of the entire record compiled during the course of the case, from the initial filing of a complaint all the way through the final judgment issued by the lower court. Once the higher court has the record, it reviews it for errors made by the court to answer the questions presented in the petition. Additionally, the higher court sets a date for the parties to present the case for review.
If the appellate court does not want to take the case, it will deny the petition. This is usually acknowledged as "cert. denied." Certiorari review is always discretionary. Further, Rule 10 of the U.S. Supreme Court's rules states that it will only grant a petition for cert. if there are "compelling reasons." The writ is usually granted only when there are important questions of law that need to be addressed; it is rarely used when the petition alleges errors in the findings of fact.
When the U.S. Supreme Court grants or denies cert., it often issues a one-page document indicating that the Court will or will not hear the case, and these documents rarely provide explanation as to how and why the Court made the decision. Justices are not precluded, however, from issuing written statements when they dissent or concur with the decision made by the Court concerning the petition. As of 2014, Justice Sonia Sotomayor has issued more of these statements than any other justice. Most of her statements deal with cases involving the criminal justice system.
The denial of a petition for writ of certiorari does not have any effect on the case. The lower court's judgment still stands. Further, denial of cert. is not a stamp of approval by the higher court of the judgment in the lower court. It merely means that the higher court does not find the legal issues raised in the petition to be important enough to consider at that time.
According to the U.S. Supreme Court website, the Court receives approximately 10,000 petitions requesting a writ of certiorari each year. Of those, approximately 100 actually receive the writ and have oral arguments before the Court. The Court writes between 80 and 90 opinions yearly, giving those cases full plenary review.
Some state appeals courts employ the same terminology. The state courts of the following states also issue writs of certiorari: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, New Jersey.
In law, certiorari is a court process to seek judicial review of a decision of a lower court or government agency. Certiorari comes from the name of an English prerogative writ, issued by a superior court to direct that the record of the lower court be sent to the superior court for review. The term is Latin for "to be made certain", and comes from the opening line of such writs, which traditionally began with the Latin words "Certiorari volumus..." ("We wish to be made certain...").
Derived from the English common law, certiorari is prevalent in countries utilising, or influenced by, the common law. It has evolved in the legal system of each nation, as court decisions and statutory amendments are made. In modern law, certiorari is recognized in many jurisdictions, including England and Wales (now called a "quashing order"), Canada, India, Ireland, the Philippines and the United States. With the expansion of administrative law in the 19th and 20th centuries, the writ of certiorari has gained broader use in many countries, to review the decisions of administrative bodies as well as lower courts.
In English common law, certiorari was a supervisory writ, serving to keep "all inferior jurisdictions within the bounds of their authority ... [protecting] the liberty of the subject, by speedy and summary interposition". In England and Wales, the Court of King's Bench was tasked with the duty of supervising all lower courts, and had power to issue all writs necessary for the discharge of that duty; the justices of that Court appeared to have no discretion as to whether it was heard, as long as an application for a bill of certiorari met established criteria, as it arose from their duty of supervision.
In R. v. Awashish, 2018 SCC 45, the Supreme Court of Canada restricted the use of certiorari in criminal matters. It ruled that certiorari can only be used to correct jurisdictional errors, i.e. when a court makes a decision that is out of its power to make; it cannot be used to correct legal errors, i.e. where a court makes a decision it is allowed to make, but decides incorrectly. The latter type of error can only be challenged through an appeal, once the court makes a final decision in the case. This is part of a general prohibition on interlocutory appeals in criminal matters. Certiorari is also available if a decision affects the rights of a third party who would not have standing to appeal the decision. The Supreme Court declined to decide whether certiorari would be available to address a legal error that threatens irreparable harm to a party's rights that could not be cured on appeal. 2b1af7f3a8