TO THE SUPREME COURT
THe SUPreme COurT IS the highest court in the United States. Its decision on a case becomes the law of the land. Each year the Court receives thousands of requests to hear cases. The justices hear only a small fraction of those.
Usually attorneys who want the Supreme Court to hear their case file a writ of certiorari with the Court. This means that the lawyers petition the Court to move the case from a lower court to the high Court for review. For a case to get a hearing, at least four justices must approve the action. To win a spot on the Court's docket, a case must generally involve one of three issues: constitutional rights or questions, a state court's ruling on a federal law, or conflicting rulings by two different courts.
Once a case is chosen, lawyers for both sides must submit briefs. These legal documents contain the arguments to support their case. The lawyers cite other cases that support their view and answer charges made by the opposing lawyers. Organizations that support one side or the other can also submit briefs outlining their views. These groups are called amicus curiae, meaning [friend of the court.]
After the justices have reviewed the briefs, they schedule oral arguments. Lawyers for both sides present their case to the Court and answer the justices' ques-