U.S. Supreme Court filings, governed by the Supreme Court Rules, can present a daunting task, even for experienced appellate litigators. The form and format requirements date from an earlier time in American law, when lawyers presented their appellate court briefs as formal, elegantly prepared publications. While most courts now allow stapled, desktop printing, the U.S. Supreme Court maintains a tradition of solemnity and ceremony that befits the most powerful court in the nation.
But for the new filer, the Supreme Court Rules—clocking in at almost 17,000 words—can seem overwhelmingly dense and complex, while still occasionally failing to convey all of the requirements that the filer will need to understand. To help the new filer, the Court offers a Guide to Filing Paid Cases. For the most part, the Guide restates many of the filing requirements that can be found in the Rules, but in a more succinct, straightforward style. In twelve paragraphs the Guide lays out the basic information necessary to successfully file in most circumstances.
And in a few particulars, the Guide actually expands on items not fully addressed in the Rules, expressly declaring requirements and prohibitions that might not be clearly evident in the text of the Supreme Court Rules.
For example, Supreme Court Rule 34.1(f), describing the required elements of the brief cover, declares that the “