According to statistics from the most recently completed Supreme Court term, you have more than a snowball’s chance in you-know-where of getting a petition for writ of certiorari granted.

During the Court’s 2012 Term (the 2013 Term will be completed later next month) the Court disposed of a whopping 7602 petitions and granted only 92 petitions for oral argument – a rate of 1.21%. That figure does not count GVRs – the grant of a petition for certiorari, vacation of the lower court’s judgment, and remand of the case.

That doesn’t seem much better than a snowball’s chance, right?  If we separate petitions into two commonly analyzed categories – paid petitions and petitions filed In Forma Pauperis (IFP) – the grant rate changes considerably.

During the 2012 Term, 82 of the 1503 paid petitions filed were granted – a rate of 5.46%.  IFP petitions, which made up the bulk of the Court’s docket (80.2%), were granted at a rate of .01% (6099 IFP petitions were disposed of vs. the 10 that were granted).

Paid IFP
Disposed 1503 6099
Granted 82 10
Percentage 5.46% .01%

Thanks to Kedar S. Bhatia, historical background can be given for the Court’s 2012 Term grant rate.  He concluded that from the 2001 Term to the 2010 Term the court averaged:

Paid IFP Total
Disposed 1674.3 6384.6 8058.9
Granted 71.8 11 82.8
Percentage 4.3% .17% 1.0%

The Court’s 2012 journal is available in full, here.

Following is a list of things oddsmakers have labeled as less than 4% likely to occur:

  • Odds that the New Orleans Saints (4%) or Dallas Cowboys (2.5%) win Super Bowl XLIX.
  • Odds that Rick Perry is elected President in 2016 (1.25%).
  • Odds of being audited by the IRS (.57%).
  • Odds of dating a millionaire (.47%).
  • Odds of getting a hole in one (.02%).