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Supreme Court of the United States


Supreme Court of the United States Official Website

Court Rules

Case Handling Guides

The Court and Its Procedures


Did You Know:


The basic statutes governing Supreme Court jurisdiction are found at 28 U.S.C. § 1251.


The U.S. Supreme Court has original and exclusive jurisdiction of controversies between two or more states and must hear these cases.


Types of U.S. Supreme Court  Appellate Jurisdiction:

Direct Appeal – the appellant can bypass the courts of appeals and have the Supreme Court hear the case. Note: Congress limited direct appeals in 1988, as part of its reform to give the Supreme Court much greater control over its own docket.


Certiorari – review for the petitioner is discretionary. Virtually all review to the Supreme Court no occurs when the Supreme Court, in its discretion, decides to accept a case.   Note: The Court grants certiorari for the interest of the public, not merely for the interest of the parties.  Thus, the Court will not ordinarily grant certiorari merely to achieve justice in a particular case.

Appeal - the appellant will receive Supreme Court review, in theory as a right.  The Supreme Court rules require the appellant to file a jurisdictional statement, which is similar to the petition for certiorari.