US Supreme Court Filing Guides

II. Nature of Supreme Court Review It is important to note that review in this Court by means of a writ of certiorari is not a matter of right, but of judicial discretion. The primary concern of the Supreme Court is not to correct errors in lower court decisions, but to decide cases presenting issues of importance beyond the particular facts and parties involved. The Court grants and hears argument in only about 1% of the cases that are filed each Term. The vast majority of petitions are simply denied by the Court without comment or explanation. The denial of a petition for a writ of certiorari signifies only that the Court has chosen not to accept the case for review and does not express the Court's view of the merits of the case.

Every petitioner for a writ of certiorari is advised to read carefully the Considerations Governing Review on Certiorari set forth in Rule 10. Important considerations for accepting a case for review include the existence of a conflict between the decision of which review is sought and a decision of another appellate court on the same issue. An important function of the Supreme Court is to resolve disagreements among lower courts about specific legal questions. Another consideration is the importance to the public of the issue. [ Back ] [ Index ] [ Next ]

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