by Wm. Daniel Ravenscroft, Atty. At Law
The United States Supreme Court is the highest court in this country. It is also the final forum for appeal in the American Judiciary.
Its jurisdiction is defined by Article III of the U.S. Constitution and by Title 28 USC, sections 1251 through 1258.
In some cases, the court can bypass the lower courts' decisions (U.S. District Courts of Appeal) by accepting or granting certiorari. Title 28, USC, section 1251.
Hearing cases on appeal from the U.S. Courts of Appeal is found under Title 28 USC, section 1254. A party can appeal a decision which holds a state statute unconstitutional or violates a federal treaty or statute. Anything can be appealed which violates the federal constitution. Other review is by way of filing a Petition for Writ of Certiorari, or commonly called a "cert."
Usually, a party must appeal to the state's highest court prior to review in the U.S. Supreme Court and the court will not grant cert unless a federal question is raised. Additionally, and in most cases, you will file the petition as found under Title 28 USC, Sections 1252, 1254 and 1257; U.S. Supreme Court rules 10-16.
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