The Secret Nature of Supreme Court Case Selection
On Monday September 28, 2015, the United States Supreme Court will convene in private to determine the cases it will hear for the upcoming term. In a recent (September 24th) New York Times article, Stanford University law Professor Jeffrey Fisher indicates that out of “8,000 petitions that arrive at the court each year, the justices select about 75 cases.” The Supreme Court rarely provides reasons for their decisions to accept or deny writs of certiorari.
Professor Fisher remarks: “It is hard to think of a more significant power in the machinery of our democracy that is exercised more secretly.” As Professor Fisher explains, if four or more justices vote to hear the case, a review is granted, and if not the petition for writ of certiorari is denied. This is largely done without comment, in what amounts to secrecy.
On occasion, however, the justices do publish what is known as a “dissent from denial of certiorari.” But, this practice is entirely discretionary and only exercised when the justices have strong feelings as to why the case was not granted review. More often than not, there is no official vote tally or written opinion published on cases denied for judicial review.
In short, Professor Fisher suggests that transparency in the Supreme Court judicial screening process would be consistent with the principals of open democracy.
Even the most experienced immigration lawyers can sometimes be completely baffled as to why USCIS denies a particular petition.
Last week, the 9th circuit ruled in favor of an applicant for permanent residence in Peters v. Barr, who was caught in a 14-year-long bureaucratic nightmare
Since the beginning of Operation Streamline in 2005, thousands of migrants have been criminally convicted, for unlawfully entering the United States.
In Carpenter v. U.S, the Supreme Court held that police generally need a search warrant to request this historical Cellular Location Site.
About Michael Harwin
Michael’s skill and experience have been recognized repeatedly. He holds an A-V 5/5 preeminent rating by Martindale Hubbell. He has been named one of the top lawyers in Arizona by Southwest Superlawyers, and one of the best lawyers in Tucson by Tucson Lifestyle Magazine. He also has been named one of the best lawyers in the United States by BestofUS.com , and given the highest rating possible by AVVO, 10/10 Superb. Amazon Books