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How the Supreme Court Decides to Hear a Case Essay

How the Supreme Court Decides to Hear a Case Essay


Title: The Selection Process and Impact of Court Cases on Public Policy

Abstract: This paper examines the selection process employed by different types of courts in the United States and discusses a prominent court case that significantly influenced public policy. Furthermore, it delves into the successes and failures of the courts, illustrating each with relevant examples. Through this analysis, we gain insights into the intricate relationship between courts, the legal system, and the formulation of public policy.

  1. Introduction

The judicial branch of government plays a crucial role in shaping public policy in the United States. Courts at various levels are responsible for interpreting laws, settling disputes, and sometimes even influencing the formulation of public policy. In this paper, we explore how different types of courts select cases, summarize a landmark court case that became public policy, and evaluate the successes and failures of the courts, supported by relevant examples.

  1. Case Selection Process in Different Types of Courts

2.1. Federal Courts Federal courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States, employ a discretionary process for selecting cases. Parties seeking redress in federal courts typically file petitions, known as writs of certiorari, to request the Supreme Court’s review of their cases. The Supreme Court justices, through a process of voting and negotiation, decide which cases to accept based on their potential to set significant legal precedents, resolve circuit splits, or address issues of national importance.

2.2. State Courts State courts generally follow a dual-track system. Trial courts, often divided into civil and criminal divisions, hear a wide range of cases, including disputes between individuals, corporations, and criminal matters. Appeals courts, on the other hand, review decisions from trial courts and select cases based on legal issues or points of law.

  1. A Landmark Court Case: Brown v. Board of Education

One of the most influential court cases in American history is Brown v. Board of Education (1954). This Supreme Court case declared racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional, thereby paving the way for desegregation efforts nationwide. The court’s unanimous decision, written by Chief Justice Earl Warren, cited the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause to support the ruling. Brown v. Board of Education was not only a significant legal milestone but also a catalyst for civil rights activism and the eventual dismantling of racial segregation in various facets of American society.

  1. Successes and Failures of the Courts

4.1. Successes

4.1.1. Expansion of Civil Rights The courts have played a pivotal role in expanding civil rights in the United States. In addition to Brown v. Board of Education, cases like Roe v. Wade (1973) established a woman’s right to choose abortion, and Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) legalized same-sex marriage. These landmark decisions have had profound and positive impacts on American society.

4.1.2. Protection of Individual Liberties Courts have consistently protected individual liberties and rights guaranteed by the Constitution. Cases like Miranda v. Arizona (1966) established the right against self-incrimination, ensuring that suspects are informed of their rights during police interrogations. This decision has been instrumental in safeguarding individual freedoms.

4.2. Failures

4.2.1. Prolonged Legal Battles The courts sometimes fail to deliver timely justice due to lengthy legal proceedings. High-profile cases like the O.J. Simpson murder trial (1995) and Bush v. Gore (2000) regarding the presidential election recount in Florida exemplify instances where legal processes were protracted, causing frustration and public disillusionment.

4.2.2. Inadequate Addressing of Systemic Issues Courts may fall short in addressing systemic issues such as racial disparities in the criminal justice system or gerrymandering in electoral districts. While individual cases can trigger discussions, they often do not provide comprehensive solutions to deeply ingrained problems.

  1. Conclusion

In conclusion, the selection process of cases in various courts, from federal to state, differs in terms of discretion and criteria. Landmark cases like Brown v. Board of Education have significantly impacted public policy, particularly in civil rights and individual liberties. While courts have achieved successes, they also face challenges in delivering timely justice and addressing systemic issues.

How the Supreme Court Decides to Hear a Case Essay





Write a paper that addresses the following:

How does each type of court select what case they will hear?

Summarize a court case (decision) that became public policy.

Discuss the successes and failures of the courts. Provide at least one example of each.

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