From time to time, we’ll provide some tips on how to use WestlawNext to research SCOTUS cases and thoroughly crush your opponents.

Today’s tip involves Writs of Certiorari.

There are three WestlawNext content sets that can be particularly helpful as you research SCOTUS cases. Today, we’ll look at “SCT-petition.” This is the content set that covers all Petitions for a Writ of Certiorari in a given case.

SCT petition

The easiest way to search is by doing an Advanced Search by docket number. You can do an Advanced Search by clicking on the “Advanced” button to the right on the Search field and “Search” button.

SCT petition2


The FantasySCOTUS website lists the docket number of every case. When you click on “Search,” WestlawNext will search for all writs of certiorari involved in that case.

SCT petition3


The results will typically pull up four types of writ of certiorari documents:

  • Petitions for Writ of Certiorari
  • Briefs in opposition
  • Amicus briefs
  • Reply briefs

The petition for certiorari and associated petition briefs contain valuable information that can help you learn what the issues are in the case and what arguments each side is likely to take.

Keep in mind that this tip only covers documents that are filed with the Court prior to certiorari being granted or denied. Briefs filed after the case is granted certiorari are in a different content set – and we’ll cover that in an upcoming post. Good luck and stayed tuned for more tips!




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