The Supreme Court uses various criteria for the consideration of cases. Not all cases may be chosen by the Supreme Court, so they must wisely choose their cases. The Court must be uniform and consistent with the cases they choose according to federal law. "Supreme Court Rule 17, Considerations Governing Review on Certiorari'" (Rossum 28).These rules are obligatory to follow because the Court uses it to grant certiorari. There are four basic rules for Rule 17. First, the Supreme Court must decide if there are any important questions on Federal Law in this case that the Court has not seen or ruled on yet. Secondly, the Court must determine if any lower courts have had any conflicting interpretations of the Federal Law. Third, they must determine if any decisions made by the lower courts conflict with any previous Supreme Court decisions, and lastly, they must check the "lower court departures from the accepted and usual course of judicial binding" (Rossum 28).
Sometimes the Supreme Court will look at the importance of the case as well. When there is disagreement between lower courts, the Supreme Court will read over the case and see if there is something in this case that may be of great concern to the nation, area, sex, race, etc. Also, the Supreme Court may deny a case depending on the effect of the case in the long-run. A good example of this is when cases were sent to the court to challenge whether or not the Vietnam War was constitutional. The court as always tried to be neutral and avoid any kind of negative involvement, especially in political disputes, and for this reason they would negate any cases on the Vietnam War. Also, and this is more over the last criteria for determining a case, the Court tries to avoid any unnecessary inflammation of the public's opinion. The Court's do this by limiting the amount of issues that may cause controversy to the public. They consider the publics reaction in choosing cases in order to broadcast their vital rulings (Rossom 29).
Once the case reaches the Supreme Court, the lawyers of each side must file legal briefs. Legal briefs are written partisan documents that are used to convince the Court to vote for the position they hold. After the Justices of the Supreme Court have read these legal briefs, it is time for the oral arguments to begin. Lawyers are usually given around thirty minutes to, once again, persuade the Court to vote for them, but also to explain the legal briefs they have given them. Also, the Justices of the Court may ask questions on the case in order to determine the accuracy of it. Once all of this is done, the Justices meet privately to discuss all of the information they have been given. The Justices may not use personal opinion because they must vote based on how this case conflicts or abides to the constitution. Once their discussion comes to a close, they have their oral votes. Oral votes are cast from the newest member of the Court to the eldest. But once these oral votes are held, the case is still up for debate. The Justices have even more discussion on the case, and comparable or contrasting opinions are written down to help the Court confirm what they have originally voted for, or possibly get them to change their vote. This is to help the Justices reach a final verdict, and once each of them have made their final vote, they converse once again with each other to explain why they voted the way they did. Once they do this, if there are any other intracourt discrepancies, they try to resolve the issues. And finally, a final verdict is reached based on majority rule and it is announced to the court (Rossom 30-32).
The majority opinion is basically the opinion that the majority had in the case. If a vote was cast 7-1, the majority would be seven, obviously. These seven justices met together before the final vote to discuss their opinions and make sure they were correct. The dissenting opinion would be...