Writ of Certiorari

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  • A court order issued by the U.S. Supreme Court that directs a lower court to produce records for a case that it will hear on appeal. Originally, the Supreme Court was mandated to hear all cases on appeal, but this resulted in an overburdened docket. In the Judiciary Act of 1891, Congress authorized the Supreme Court the use of the writ of certiorari, which in Latin means “to be informed,” to give the Court discretion to decide which cases it will hear. This eased the docket burden for a time. The Judiciary Act of 1925 provided even greater Supreme Court discretion, and in 1988, Congress increased the Court's discretionary role even further.

    A petition for a writ of certiorari is a document that a losing party ...

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