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What happens if the Supreme Court refuses to hear a case?

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2011-05-02 15:03:27
2011-05-02 15:03:27

If the U.S. Supreme Court denies a petition for a writ of certiorari (a request to hear a case on appeal), then the decision of the lower court is final.

Denial of certiorari occurs in 98-99% of cases, and in no way implies that the court agrees with the lower court's decision. Denial only means that the case, as presented, isn't of sufficient importance to warrant a review, doesn't involve constitutional issues, conforms to a precedent already set, falls outside the court's jurisdiction, or is moot, etc.

Between 7,500 and 8,500 cases are presented for review each year, but the court can only choose 80-150 to hear, so the Justices have to limit themselves to those cases that have the greatest impact on the law and on society.

If a case is denied certiorari, the decision of the last "court of competent jurisdiction" to handle the case is affirmed and the case is concluded. Affirmation by default does not necessarily indicate the Supreme Court agrees with the lower court decision; nor does accepting a case for review necessarily mean the Court disagrees with the lower court decision.

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Related Questions


When the Supreme Court refuses to hear an appeal, the previous ruling by the prior court, stands.


IT'S ALL A FRAUD IF YOU ASK ME. IT'S ALL ABOUT MONEY FOR THE COURTS


The ruling of the court below the Supreme Court will be upheld. The Supreme Court is similar to an appeals court. If they don't want to take the case, then whatever the court ruling was will stand.



When an application (or appeal of some case in a lower court) to the Supreme Court is denied, it is called certiorari denied. In fact, it means that the Supreme Court refuses to accept the application or appeal and will not judge on it


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If the US Supreme Court is the first to hear a case, the Court has original jurisdiction.


A few cases reach the court by certificate that is, a lower court asks the supreme court to cetify an answer to a matter in its case.



There is no telling which case or what kind of a case the Supreme Court will hear. If a case is simple, it never will get to the Supreme Court. Cases that reach the Supreme Court have gone through one or more appeals processes. Sometimes a appeal reaches the Supreme Court when a federal court of appeals has made a ruling different from another federal court of appeals. In that case, the supreme court is asked to certify an issue. That is a fancy term meaning to play referee. The Supreme Court certifies an issue when it takes up an issue where district courts of appeal have made different rulings concerning the application of the same law. (Sometimes the Supreme Court refuses to take up the issue. In that case it simply states, "Cert. Denied.") Normally, all cases that reach the Supreme Court have come from the Federal Courts of Appeal or the Highest State Court. However, the Supreme Court reserves the right to sit as a court of original jurisdiction. The last time the Supreme Court granted a writ of Habeas Corpus was 1924. It retains that right. I doubt if any member on the Supreme Court has any idea under what conditions that would happen. Still, it retains that right.


S.Ct. is an abbreviation for Supreme Court. S.Ct. indicates the writer is citing a Supreme Court case.



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