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5 Sep, 2019

Law Clerks Prepare “Long Conference” Denials

2019-09-05T14:42:41-05:00September 5th, 2019|Tags: , , , , |

The Supreme Court will return October 1 to a backload of approximately 1,800 petitions that have piled up over the summer.  Almost every one of them will be denied.  Also known as the “Long Conference,” the Justices’ first meeting after summer recess is particularly brutal for cert. seekers who filed a petition in the preceding [...]

7 Jun, 2018

Supreme Court Petition Checklist

2019-03-18T18:47:12-05:00June 7th, 2018|Tags: , , , , , |

Pilots are required to learn and use checklists for every aspect of flight, from preparing for take-off to dealing with equipment malfunction. It was a checklist that helped Captain Chelsey “Sully” Sullenberger and co-pilot Jeffery Skiles safely land their US Airways flight in the Hudson River after the plane’s engines were damaged by a flock [...]

24 Apr, 2018

Formulating the Question Presented

2019-03-18T18:47:12-05:00April 24th, 2018|Tags: , , , , |

 “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 [...]

9 Apr, 2018

Pointed QPs

2018-04-09T15:55:58-05:00April 9th, 2018|Tags: , , , , |

  “Brevity is the soul of wit.” ― William Shakespeare The questions presented page is assuredly the most important element of a Supreme Court petition.  Justices can reject an entire case based on review of the questions alone.  Rule 14.1 provides that they should be “expressed concisely in relation to the circumstances of the case, [...]

12 Feb, 2018

A Cert. Worthy Argument

2019-03-18T18:47:13-05:00February 12th, 2018|Tags: , , , |

While Supreme Court experts offer nuanced distinctions on how to construct the argument section in a petition for writ of certiorari, most agree that accounting for the difference in purpose between a cert. petition and a brief filed in the lower courts is essential. The paramount difference between a petition and a lower court brief [...]

9 Jan, 2018

Pro se filing at the Supreme Court

2019-03-18T18:47:13-05:00January 9th, 2018|Tags: , , , |

Pro se is a legal term that comes from Latin, denoting “for oneself, or on one’s own behalf.” It means that an individual is representing him- or her-self in court, by choice, without the help of an attorney. Given the state of our economy and the rising costs of legal representation, it should come as no [...]

14 Jun, 2017

Guide to Pro Se In Forma Pauperis Petitions

2019-03-18T18:47:16-05:00June 14th, 2017|Tags: , , , , , |

In forma pauperis (IFP) proceedings are those cases in which the Supreme Court allows an indigent party to file a petition for writ of certiorari without paying its $300 filing fee or preparing printed booklets (to learn about filing IFP Briefs in Opposition, click here). A petition worthy of certiorari is generally thought to contain [...]

4 May, 2017

Justice Gorsuch Opts Out of SCOTUS Cert. Pool

2019-03-18T18:47:17-05:00May 4th, 2017|Tags: , , , , |

Justice Neil Gorsuch has joined Justice Samuel Alito Jr. in opting out of the Court’s “cert. pool” – a labor-saving procedure by which all certiorari stage briefing is initially reviewed by a law clerk from one of the participating Justice’s chambers.  Justices who participate in the pool then receive a “pool memo,” generated by the [...]