How A Case Gets To The Supreme Court

Illustration for article titled How A Case Gets To The Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is back in session making rulings that will affect the lives of millions of Americans, shining a spotlight on how cases arrive to be heard by the nation’s highest judicial body. The Onion takes a step-by-step look at how a case makes it to the Supreme Court.

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STEP 1: “Better lawyer up, asshole” uttered to formally initiate legal proceedings.

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STEP 2: Preliminary hearing determines if there enough circumstantial evidence to railroad through a conviction.

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STEP 3: Sweaty, out-of-breath lawyer from small town narrowly tosses petition though crack of court’s closing doors just before deadline to appeal.

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STEP 4: $20 bill stapled to petition to ensure Supreme Court hears case.


STEP 5: Supreme Court justices agree U.S. Court of Appeals made up of complete idiots whose decision obviously needs second look.

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STEP 6: Gavels polished.


STEP 7: Oral arguments feature lawyers competing against each other to see who better memorized their notes.

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STEP 8: Justices retire to private room to “deliberate” over catered lunch as if outcome wasn’t paid for in advance.

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STEP 9: Justice Samuel Alito adds “By the way, I sure wouldn’t mind an opportunity to dismantle the Clean Air Act once and for all” to end of dissenting opinion on case involving trademark law.

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STEP 10: Millions of lives improved or destroyed.

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