Certiorari often abbreviated as cert., is a type of writ seeking judicial review, recognized in Roman, U.S., English, Canadian, Philippine, and other law, meaning an order by a higher court directing a lower court, tribunal, or public authority to send the record in a given case for review.
- Since the Judiciary Act of 1925, most cases cannot be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court as a matter of right; therefore, a party who wants that court to review a decision of a federal or state court files a “petition for writ of certiorari” in the Supreme Court. — “Certiorari – Ballotpedia”,
- The certiorari removes the cause; habeus corpus only supersedes the proceedings
A word from Law Latin, meaning “to be more fully informed.“ If an appellate court has the power to review cases at its discretion, certioari is the formal instrument by which that power gets used. A writ of certiorari orders a lower court to deliver its record in a case so that the higher court may review it. The U.S. Supreme Court uses certiorari to pick most of the cases that it hears.
Found in: Sir William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England in Four Books, vol. 2 > CHAPTER VI.: OF COURTS OF A SPECIAL JURISDICTION. > [here]
V. **77]A fifth species of private courts of a limited, though extensive, jurisdiction, are those of the principality of Wales, which, upon its thorough reduction, and the settling of its polity in the reign of Henry the Eighth,(l) were erected all over the country; principally by the statute 34 & 35 Hen. VIII. c. 26, though much had been before done, and the way prepared, by the statute of Wales, 12 Edw. I., and other statutes. By the statute of Henry the Eighth before mentioned, court-barons, hundred, and county courts are there established, as in England. A session is also to be held twice in every year in each county, by judges(m) appointed by the king, to be called the great sessions of the several counties in Wales: in which all pleas of real and personal actions shall be held, with the same form of process, and in as ample a manner, as in the court of common pleas at Westminster:(n) and writs of error shall lie from judgments therein (it being acourt of records) to the court of king’s bench at Westminster. But the ordinary original writs of process of the king’s courts at Westminster do not run into the principality of Wales:(o) though process of execution does;(p) as do also prerogative writs, as writs of certiorari, quo minus, mandamus, and the like.(q) And even in causes between subject and subject, to prevent injustice through family factions or prejudices, it is held lawful (in causes of freehold at least, and it is usual in all others) to bring an action in the English courts, and try the same in the next English county adjoining to that part of Wales where the cause arises,(r) and where the venue is laid. But, on the other hand, to prevent trifling and frivolous suits, it is enacted, by statute 13 Geo. III. c. 51, that in personal actions, tried in any English county where the cause of action arose, and the defendant resides in Wales, if the plaintiff shall not recover a verdict for ten pounds, he shall be non-suited and pay the defendant’s costs, unless it be certified by the judge that the freehold or title came principally in question, or that the cause was proper *[*78to be tried, in such English county. And if any transitory action, the cause whereof arose and the defendant is resident in Wales, shall be brought in any English county, and the plaintiff shall not recover a verdict for ten pounds, the plaintiff shall be nonsuited, and shall pay the defendant’s costs, deducting thereout the sum recovered by the verdict.4
Petiton for a Writ of Certiorari – The confirmation bias of absolute immunity, as precedent, has for too long made manifest evil look accepted benign and inevitable.
The U.S. Supreme Court gives full consideration to but a small fraction of the cases it has authority to review. With many important categories of cases, the party seeking Supreme Court review does so by “petitioning” the Court to issue a “writ of certiorari.” (See, e.g., 28 U.S.C. §§ 1254, 1257, 2350.) (Note: Some state appeals courts — e.g., Ala., Ark., Colo., Conn., Fla., Ga., La., N.J. — employ the same terminology.) If the Court decides to review one or more issues in such a case it grants “certiorari” (often abbreviated as “cert.”). If the Court decides not to review the case it denies “cert.”
While a decision to deny cert. lets the lower court’s ruling stand, it does not constitute a decision by the Supreme Court on any of the legal issues raised by the case. Rule 10 of the Supreme Court Rules lists some of the considerations that may lead the Court to grant certiorari. But the decision to grant or deny cert. is discretionary. Under long-standing internal Court practice if four justices favor granting a petition for cert. it will be granted.
Originally, the writ of certiorari was a proceeding through which a superior court required a lower court to submit the full record of a case for review. Under the current rules and practice of the Supreme Court, however, key elements of the proceedings below are submitted along with a petition for certiorari. (See Supreme Court Rules, Rule 14.) And in some states the old terminology has been replaced. In Arizona, for example, relief formerly obtained by the writs of prohibition, mandamus and certiorari is now obtained through a “special action.”
In Roman law, Certiorari was suggested in terms of reviewing a case—much as the term is applied today—although the term was also used in writing to indicate the need or duty to inform other parties of a court’s ruling. It was a highly technical term appearing only in jurisprudential Latin, most frequently in the works of Ulpian.
The term certiorari is often found in Roman literature on law but applied in a philosophical rather than tangible manner when concerning the action of review of a case or aspects of a case. Essentially, it states that the case will be heard.
Common law and Commonwealth jurisdictions
At common law, certiorari was a supervisory writ, serving to keep “all inferior jurisdictions within the bounds of their authority … [protecting] the liberty of the subject, by speedy and summary interposition”. In England & Wales and, separately in Northern Ireland, the Court of King’s Bench was tasked with the duty of supervising all lower courts, and had power to issue all writs necessary for the discharge of that duty; the justices of that Court appeared to have no discretion as to whether it was heard, as long as an application for a bill of certiorari met established criteria, as it arose from their duty of supervision. “The underlying policy is that all inferior courts and authorities have only limited jurisdiction or powers and must be kept within their legal bounds. This is the concern of the Crown, for the sake of orderly administration of justice, but it is a private complaint which sets the Crown in motion”. As Associate Justice James Wilson, the person primarily responsible for the drafting of Article Three of the United States Constitution, explains:
In every judicial department, well arranged and well organized, there should be a regular, progressive, gradation of jurisdiction; and one supreme tribunal should superintend and govern all the others.
An arrangement in this manner is proper for two reasons:
1. The supreme tribunal produces and preserves a uniformity of decision through the whole judicial system.
2. It confines and supports every inferior court within the limits of its just jurisdiction.
If no superintending tribunal of this nature were established, different courts might adopt different and even contradictory rules of decision; and the distractions, springing from these different and contradictory rules, would be without remedy and without end. Opposite determinations of the same question, in different courts, would be equally final and irreversible.
Consistent with Justice Wilson’s explanation, the power to issue writs of certiorari is invested in the highest court of every Commonwealth jurisdiction, in some way, shape, or manner. While some incorporate this remedy into their Constitutions, e.g., India, others treat it as an implied power of superior courts, e.g., Australia, but in all Commonwealth jurisdictions—as distinguished from its American counterpart—it has evolved into a general remedy for the correction of plain error, to bring decisions of an inferior court or tribunal or public authority before the superior court for review so that the court can determine whether to quash such decisions.
In the United States, certiorari is most often seen as the writ that the Supreme Court of the United States issues to a lower court to review the lower court’s judgment for legal error (reversible error) and review where no appeal is available as a matter of right. Before the Evarts Act, the cases that could reach the Supreme Court were heard as a matter of right, meaning that the Court was required to issue a decision in each of those cases. That is, the Court had to review all properly presented appeals on the merits, hear oral argument, and issue decisions. As the United States expanded in the nineteenth century, the federal judicial system became increasingly strained, with the Supreme Court having a backlog several years long. The Act solved these problems by transferring most of the court’s direct appeals to the newly created Circuit Courts of Appeals, whose decisions in those cases would normally be final. The Supreme Court did not completely give up its judiciary authority, however, because it gained the ability to review the decisions of the courts of appeals at its discretion through writ of certiorari.
Since the Judiciary Act of 1925 and the Supreme Court Case Selections Act of 1988, most cases cannot be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court as a matter of right. A party who wants the Supreme Court to review a decision of a federal or state court files a “petition for writ of certiorari” in the Supreme Court. A “petition” is printed in booklet format and 40 copies are filed with the Court. If the Court grants the petition, the case is scheduled for the filing of briefs and for oral argument.
A minimum of four of the nine Justices is required to grant a writ of certiorari, referred to as the “rule of four“. The court denies the vast majority of petitions and thus leaves the decision of the lower court to stand without review; it takes roughly 80 to 150 cases each term. In the term that concluded in June 2009, for example, 8,241 petitions were filed, with a grant rate of approximately 1.1 percent. Cases on the paid certiorari docket are substantially more likely to be granted than those on the in forma pauperis docket. The Supreme Court is generally careful to choose only cases over which the Court has jurisdiction and which the Court considers sufficiently important, such as cases involving deep constitutional questions, to merit the use of its limited resources. See also Cert pool. While both appeals of right and cert petitions often present several alleged errors of the lower courts for appellate review, the Court normally grants review only of one or two questions presented in a certiorari petition.
The Supreme Court sometimes grants a writ of certiorari to resolve a “circuit split”, when the federal appeals courts in two (or more) federal judicial circuits have ruled differently in similar situations. These are often called “percolating issues.”
Certiorari is sometimes informally referred to as cert., and cases warranting the Supreme Court’s attention as “cert. worthy”. The granting of a writ does not necessarily mean that the Supreme Court disagrees with the decision of the lower court. Granting a writ of certiorari means merely that at least four of the justices have determined that the circumstances described in the petition are sufficient to warrant review by the Court. Conversely, the Supreme Court’s denial of a petition for a writ of certiorari is sometimes misunderstood to mean that the Supreme Court approves the decision of the lower court. As the Court explained in Missouri v. Jenkins, however, such a denial “imports no expression of opinion upon the merits of the case. …” In particular, a denial of a writ of certiorari means that no binding precedent is created by the denial itself, and that the lower court’s decision is treated as mandatory authority only within the region of jurisdiction of that court. The reason for this was given in Maryland v. Baltimore Radio Show, Inc., in which the Court discussed that many rationales could underlie the denial of a writ which have nothing to do with the merits of the case.
Since the vast majority of petitions for certiorari are routinely denied without comment, it is normally unnecessary to indicate that fact in citations to decisions of lower federal courts, unless it happened within the last two years or was otherwise particularly relevant (e.g., to support an inference that a particular appellant is a vexatious litigant).
In legal citations, “cert. granted sub nom” is an abbreviation of the legal phrase “certiorari granted sub nomine“, meaning “judicial review granted, under name”, indicating that a petition for certiorari of a case has been granted, but that the court granting certiorari is hearing the case under a different name than the name under which the subordinate courts heard the case. For example, the case of District of Columbia v. Heller was known as Parker v. District of Columbia in the court below.
Some U.S. state court systems use the same terminology, but in others, writ of review, leave to appeal, or certification for appeal is used in place of writ of certiorari as the name for discretionary review of a lower court’s judgment. A handful of states lack intermediate appellate courts; their supreme courts operate under a mandatory review regime, in which the supreme court must take all appeals in order to preserve the loser’s traditional right to one appeal (except in criminal cases where the defendant was acquitted). However, mandatory review remains in place in all states where the death penalty exists; in those states, a sentence of death is automatically appealed to the state’s highest court.
In the administrative law context, the common-law writ of certiorari was historically used by lower courts in the U.S. for judicial review of decisions made by an administrative agency after an adversarial hearing. Some states have retained this use of the writ of certiorari in state courts, while others have replaced it with statutory procedures. In the federal courts, this use of certiorari has been abolished and replaced by a civil action under the Administrative Procedure Act in a United States district court or in some circumstances a petition for review in a United States court of appeals.
- “Certiorari ! Define Certiorari at Dictionary.com”.
- “definition of certiorari from Oxford Dictionaries Online”.
- “Philippine Supreme Court Circulars”. Chan Robles Virtual Law Library. Retrieved July 17, 2012.
- “Definition at Lewis and Short Latin Dictionary”.
- 3 Wm. Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England 42 (1765).
- Surya Dev Rai v. Ram Chander Rai, (2003) 6 SCC 675 (India)(internal quotation omitted) indiankanoon.org
- The Oyez Project, Justice James Wilson  (last visited April 4, 2011).
- 2 The Works of James Wilson 149–50 (J. D. Andrews ed., 1896).
- India Const. art. 32, cl. 2
- Klewer v Dutch,  99 FCA 217 (H.C.)(discussion); High Court Rules 2004, Statutory Rules 2004 No. 304 as amended, made under the Judiciary Act 1903, Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, Nauru (High Court Appeals) Act 1976 and High Court of Australia Act 1979 austlii.edu.au
- Anisminic Ltd v Foreign Compensation Comm’n  2 AC 147;  2 WLR 163 (Court may correct any lower court decision “depart[ing] from the rules of natural justice,” per Lord Pierce) 
- Ch. 517, 26 Stat. 826 (1891).
- Russel R. Wheeler & Cynthia Harrison, Fed. Judicial Ctr., Creating the Federal Judicial System 17–18 (3d ed. 2005).
- Wheeler & Harrison, supra, at 12, 16.
- Evarts Act § 6., 26 Stat. at 828.
- § 6, 26 Stat. at 828.
- Supreme Court Case Selections Act, Pub.L. 100-352, 102 Stat. 662 (1988)
- United States Supreme Court Rule 33
- Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Co., 556 U.S. 868, __ (2009) (Roberts, C.J., dissenting) (slip op. at 11). See also http://www.supremecourt.gov/about/justicecaseload.pdf (10,000 cases in the mid-2000s); Melanie Wachtell & David Thompson, An Empirical Analysis of Supreme Court Certiorari Petition Procedures 16 Geo. Mason U. L. Rev. 237, 241 (2009) (7500 cases per term); Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, Remarks at University of Guanajuato, Mexico, 9/27/01 (same).
- Thompson, David C.; Wachtell, Melanie F. (2009). “An Empirical Analysis of Supreme Court Certiorari Petition Procedures”. George Mason University Law Review 16 (2): 237, 249. SSRN 1377522.
- TIPTON V. SOCONY MOBIL OIL CO., INC., 375 U. S. 34 (1963)
- 515 U.S. 70 (1995)
- Linzer, Peter (1979). “The Meaning of Certiorari Denials”. Columbia Law Review (Columbia Law Review Association, Inc.) 79 (7): 1227–1305. doi:10.2307/1121841. JSTOR 1121841.
- Lane, Charles. “It’s Cert., to Be Sure. But How Do They Say It? Let’s Count the Ways”, The Washington Post, December 3, 2001 (archived).
\WASHINGTON, DC 20543- June 18, 2013 10:32 am
Sseventy million eight hundred thirty-six thousand dollars and zero cents……………………………………. $70,836,000.00
One hundred forty-one million six hundred seventy-three thousand dollars and zero cents…………………………………… $141,673,000.00
 28 USC § 2111. Harmless error, On the hearing of any appeal or writ of certiorari in any case, the court shall give judgment after an examination of the record without regard to errors or defects which do not affect the substantial rights of the parties.
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To Kill a Mocking Bird, The Denial of Due Process
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David G. Jeep
http://dgjeep.blogspot.com/E-mail is preferred Dave@DGJeep.com, DGJeep@DGJeep.com
David G. Jeep
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The Court’s orders “granting” or “denying” cert. are issued as simple statements of actions taken, without explanation.
See, e.g. Jimenez v. Quarterman 555 U.S.__(2009).