Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A writ seeking review of a lower court decision by a higher court.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In law, a writ issuing from a superior court to call up the record of a proceeding in an inferior court or before any body or officer exercising judicial power, that it may be tried or reviewed in the superior court.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Law) A writ issuing out of chancery, or a superior court, to call up the records of a inferior court, or remove a cause there depending, in order that the party may have more sure and speedy justice, or that errors and irregularities may be corrected. It is obtained upon complaint of a party that he has not received justice, or can not have an impartial trial in the inferior court.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun US, law A grant of the right of an appeal to be heard by an appellate court where that court has discretion to choose which appeals it will hear.
  • noun UK, law A grant of review of a government action by a court with discretion to make such a review.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a common law writ issued by a superior court to one of inferior jurisdiction demanding the record of a particular case

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Latin certiorārī (volumus), (we wish) to be informed (words in the writ), passive of certiōrāre, to inform, apprise, from certior, comparative of certus, certain; see certain.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Law Latin present passive infinitive of certioro, a contraction of certiorem facere ("to search", literally "to make certain").

Examples

  • The SCOTUS has discretionary power to take a case so a denial of certiorari is an implicit affirmation of the lower court rulings.

    Think Progress » Tea Party sign threatens gun violence if health care passes.

  • The 8th Circuit's decision on the Federal Partial Birth Abortion statute, on which the Supreme Court has accepted certiorari, is a far better vehicle for undermining the doctrinal foundations of Roe and Casey through a series of doctrinal distinctions.

    Balkinization

  • A petition for writ of certiorari is currently before the U.S.

    Balkinization

  • The step sought by Virginia, known as certiorari before judgment, is one the court has taken only a handful of times, including its 1974 decision ordering President Richard Nixon to turn over Oval Office tape recordings and its 1952 ruling blocking President Harry S Truman from seizing the nation's steel mills.

    chron.com Chronicle

  • The step sought by Virginia, known as certiorari before judgment, is one the court has taken only a handful of times, including its 1974 decision ordering President Richard Nixon to turn over Oval Office tape recordings and its 1952 ruling blocking President Harry S Truman from seizing the nation's steel mills.

    BusinessWeek.com -- Top News

  • The Supreme Court has taken the step being sought by Cuccinelli, known as certiorari before judgment, only a handful of times in the past half century and generally only when the justices are simultaneously considering a related case that has cleared the appellate level.

    SFGate: Top News Stories

  • Without comment the court announced Monday that it had denied certiorari, which is court parlance for not taking up a request, on the Lee case.

    StarTribune.com rss feed

  • Without comment the court announced Monday that it had denied certiorari, which is court parlance for not taking up a request, on the Lee case.

    StarTribune.com rss feed

  • The Supreme Court decided not to grant the Holy See's petition for certiorari, which is simply a request that the court consider the issue.

    The Daily Register

  • A minimum of four justices — a near majority of the court — is required to grant certiorari, meaning that when certiorari is granted, at least a near majority of the court is likely to be leaning towards reversal even before the court hears the case.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » In Defense of the Ninth Circuit:

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