“I have always been much better at asking questions than knowing what the answers were.” – Bill James, baseball historian
There may be no more daunting task in all Supreme Court practice than distilling a 9,000 word cert. petition down to one or two questions presented. This level of difficulty should come as no surprise—only the U.S. Supreme Court requires a formal Question Presented (although the federal courts of appeals and some state courts do require issue statements). Even if you do not regularly file petitions to the Supreme Court, there are a few techniques you can use to improve the formulation of your QP.
Supreme Court Rule 14 describes the content of the QP page. The QP should be “expressed concisely in relation to the circumstances of the case, without unnecessary detail . . .