The Supreme Court receives thousands of petitions for certiorari each year, but it chooses to hear only a tiny fraction of them. At SCOTUSblog, we search the docket daily for the petitions the Court is most likely to grant. The end results of this process on SCOTUSblog 4.0 are petition case pages, the "Petition of the day" feature, and the "Petitions We're Watching" section of the website.

The process

We first narrow SCOTUSblog's docket by screening out petitions that are unlikely to receive consideration. We exclude petitions filed pro se or in forma pauperis, as the Court rarely hears cases in which the petitioner represents him- or herself or cases in which court-imposed fees are waived for the petitioner. We exclude petitions for writs of mandamus and petitions for rehearings as well.

We then review the questions presented by each remaining petition for a few characteristics that dramatically increase the likelihood that the Court will grant certiorari. Cases with the potential to resolve disagreements between federal appellate courts are often of special interest to the Court, as are cases in which a defendant is eligible for capital punishment. The Court gives extra consideration to cases in which the petitioner is either the United States (or one of its officials or agencies) or one of the fifty states (or one of its officials). Finally, the Court itself demonstrates interest in certain cases by inviting the Solicitor General to file a brief expressing the views of the United States. SCOTUSblog covers petitions that meet at least some of these criteria.

Petition case pages

The primary resource for specific petitions is the case page, a centralized location to retrieve information and documents related to a case.  The opinions below, petitions, briefs in opposition, reply briefs (if filed), any amicus briefs, and previous SCOTUSblog coverage are all available through petition case pages. If and when the Court grants certiorari, we update case pages to feature merits-stage materials as they become available.

Previous iterations of the site featured case pages on SCOTUSwiki. SCOTUSblog 4.0 integrates case pages into the blog itself. You can search for a petition of interest by typing the names of parties into the Search by Word box on the main page sidebar.

Petition of the day and Petitions We’re Watching

SCOTUSblog also has several features for readers interested not just in specific cases, but notable petitions in general. Every weekday, we post a "Petition of the day" item featuring one or more petitions that warrant a closer look. The posts feature links to relevant case pages, the issues presented in each case, and links to available certiorari-stage documents.

For a more in-depth look at important pending petitions, visit "Petitions We're Watching" by navigating through the "Case Files" option on the top menu to "Pending Petitions," or by scrolling down the homepage and clicking the "All Petitions We're Watching" link.

"Petitions We're Watching" highlights several cases that the Justices will consider in their private conference, and it includes links to case pages and the docket pages on the Court's website. This section also links to any briefs from the Office of the Solicitor General expressing the views of the United States. While the Court is in session, watch the main page for occasional "Petitions to watch" posts highlighting cases that the Justices will consider at upcoming conferences.

If you are interested in a full archive of SCOTUSblog's petitions coverage, navigate through the "Posts by Category" option in the top menu to "Cases in the Pipeline," an exhaustive list of all petitions-related posts as well as news coverage of especially interesting cases the Court might hear.

Posted in Everything Else, Featured

Recommended Citation: Kiran Bhat, Tracking petitions on SCOTUSblog 4.0, SCOTUSblog (Nov. 17, 2010, 2:41 PM), http://www.scotusblog.com/2010/11/tracking-petitions-on-scotusblog-4-0/