Does the Supreme Court have to take your case?

You know that you have a right to a fair trial in any case, as all citizens of Oregon do. You also know that you have a right to appeal, and the appellate court then has to go over the decision to see if it was made in error. However, what if things go past that point? What if you want to appeal the appellate court's decision and take things all the way to the Supreme Court?

It's good to know that the Supreme Court is the last stop for a case. They get the final say as the most important court in the country. Whatever they say stands, and they can overturn appellate courts and trial courts.

However, you should also know that they don't have to hear your case at all. You definitely have a right to ask the Supreme Court to take a look at the judgment if you think it's warranted, but they are under no obligation to agree with you. They can turn you down and then you're stuck with the decision made by the lower court.

To ask the Supreme Court to see your case, you must submit a Petition for Writ of Certiorari. If the court takes your case, it is said that the court has "granted cert." Generally speaking, of all of the cases that are submitted every year, the Supreme Court takes on fewer than 100 of them.

While the Supreme Court does not have to take your case, it's wise to know all of your options, from appealing to lower courts to attempting to go to the highest court for the ultimate ruling.

Source: Judicial Learning Center, "The Appeal Process," accessed May. 28, 2015

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