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Answered 2010-12-18 03:00:17

There have been tens of thousands of writs of certiorari granted in the history of the US Supreme Court.

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What rules does the US Supreme Court use when deciding whether to grant certiorari?

The Court has established rules governing its process and procedures, among these being Rule 10, which helps determine whether certiorari should be granted or denied. The Rules of the Supreme Court of the United States, adopted in February 2010, states the following:Rule 10. Considerations Governing Review on Writ of Certiorari"Review on a writ of certiorari is not a matter of right, but of judicial discretion. A petition for a writ of certiorari will be granted only for compelling reasons. The following, although neither controlling nor fully measuring the Court's discretion, indicate the character of the reasons the Court considers:(a) a United States court of appeals has entered a decision in conflict with the decision of another United States court of appeals on the same important matter; has decided an important federal question in a way that conflicts with a decision by a state court of last resort; or has so far departed from the accepted and usual course of judicial proceedings, or sanctioned such a departure by a lower court, as to call for an exercise of this Court's supervisory power;(b) a state court of last resort has decided an important federal question in a way that conflicts with the decision of another state court of last resort or of a United States court of appeals;(c) a state court or a United States court of appeals has decided an important question of federal law that has not been, but should be, settled by this Court, or has decided an important federal question in a way that conflicts with relevant decisions of this Court.A petition for a writ of certiorari is rarely granted when the asserted error consists of erroneous factual findings or the misapplication of a properly stated rule of law."Most cases accepted on appeal involve decisions that conflict with the High Court's interpretation of the Constitution or federal law, or that the Justices believe need clarification in order to establish a precedent for application across all lower courts.Granting certiorari does not necessarily mean the Court disagrees with the final appellate court decision; there have been many instances in which those verdicts have been affirmed. Likewise, denying certiorari is not an indication that the Court agrees with the appellate court decision.



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Theoretically, the justices themselves do. If they are interested in hearing a particular case, they issue a writ of certiorari (sometimes referred to as "granting cert"). If four of the justices believe the case should be heard before the full court, then it is granted certiorari and the case is added to the schedule. In practice, because the court gets about a hundred times as many petitions as it can possibly review, law clerks working for the justices (in what's called the "cert pool") have a significant say in which petitions get recommended for a hearing and which ones do not.


How many signatures does the US Supreme Court need to issue a Writ of Certiorari?

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What is the time limit on filing a petition for a writ of certiorari?

A petition for a writ of certiorari is supposed to be filed within 90 days of judgment entered from the last court of appeal, per rule 13 of the Rules of the Supreme Court of the United States. The justices have discretion to extend the time by as many as 60 days, but rarely grant this permission.Rule 13. Review on Certiorari: Time for PetitioningUnless otherwise provided by law, a petition for a writ of certiorari to review a judgment in any case, civil or crimi­nal, entered by a state court of last resort or a United States court of appeals (including the United States Court of Ap­peals for the Armed Forces) is timely when it is filed with the Clerk of this Court within 90 days after entry of the judgment. A petition for a writ of certiorari seeking review of a judgment of a lower state court that is subject to discre­tionary review by the state court of last resort is timely when it is filed with the Clerk within 90 days after entry of the order denying discretionary review.The Clerk will not file any petition for a writ of certio­rari that is jurisdictionally out of time. See, e. g., 28 U. S. C. § 2101(c).The time to file a petition for a writ of certiorari runs from the date of entry of the judgment or order sought to be reviewed, and not from the issuance date of the mandate (or its equivalent under local practice). But if a petition for re­hearing is timely filed in the lower court by any party, or if the lower court appropriately entertains an untimely peti­tion for rehearing or sua sponte considers rehearing, the time to file the petition for a writ of certiorari for all parties (whether or not they requested rehearing or joined in the petition for rehearing) runs from the date of the denial of rehearing or, if rehearing is granted, the subsequent entry of judgment.A cross-petition for a writ of certiorari is timely when it is filed with the Clerk as provided in paragraphs 1, 3, and 5 of this Rule, or in Rule 12.5. However, a conditional cross­-petition (which except for Rule 12.5 would be untimely) will not be granted unless another party's timely petition for a writ of certiorari is granted.For good cause, a Justice may extend the time to file a petition for a writ of certiorari for a period not exceeding 60 days. An application to extend the time to file shall set out the basis for jurisdiction in this Court, identify the judgment sought to be reviewed, include a copy of the opinion and any order respecting rehearing, and set out specific reasons why an extension of time is justified. The application must be filed with the Clerk at least 10 days before the date the peti­tion is due, except in extraordinary circumstances. For the time and manner of presenting the application, see Rules 21, 22, 30, and 33.2. An application to extend the time to file a petition for a writ of certiorari is not favored.For more information, see Related Questions, below.


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