Tips for Successful Supreme Court Filings

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Bringing a case before the Supreme Court is nerve-wracking but exciting. The Supreme Court of the United States sets the law of the land. If there are conflicts in lower court rulings or if there are rulings you think are unconstitutional, the Supreme Court is where you hope they eventually end up. That being said, it is extremely difficult to get a case heard at the Supreme Court. If you want your case heard, you need to follow court guidelines exactly.

Some Deadlines Are Stricter Than Others

Keep in mind that some deadlines are stricter than others, and some are so strict that they can derail your filing if you miss them. A cert petition and the brief in opposition, for example, have very strict deadlines, while other replies might not. It can be difficult to keep track of all the different deadlines, especially in cases where parties may be hostile and are filing different appeals and petitions. It helps to have a consultant guiding you through the process and ensuring that you file everything on time.

Don't Let Details Slip By

Because the court gets so many petitions, anything that looks like it's not going to provide the information necessary to create a ruling could get unceremoniously rejected. You have to include all relevant details in a way that is organized and easy to reference. Anything confusing could affect your chances even if you think you have a good argument. Remember, you are aware of all the details of your argument and the case in your head, but this is the first time the court is seeing the case.

Be Clear About Conflict

One of the problems a lot of cases encounter is that they do not make it clear why they have merit. Be clear about the conflict or issues you are focusing on in your case. Why is that conflict or why was a particular ruling not worthy of listening to? Don't appeal to emotion; appeal to logic and the law. Someone's behavior may have been terrible, but if their actions were legal and could have occurred regardless of their behavior, the case isn't going to go anywhere. You need to be specific about why you're pursuing this case and why the other rulings can't be allowed to stand.

Your lawyer is certainly going to be a big help in getting through the filing and Supreme Court printing process, of course, but few lawyers get to argue cases before the Supreme Court. It will help both of you to have extra assistance in tracking deadlines and ensuring the brief and all the filings meet the court's guidelines. While the court still has to decide based on what you submit if it will hear your case, at least you'll know you've met the administrative guidelines with ease.