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Steps the Supreme Court Takes to Reach a Decision

When the Supreme Court of the United States agrees to hear a case, the only part of the process that’s open to the public are the oral arguments. The rest of the deliberations happen behind closed doors between the nine justices and their teams of law clerks. So how exactly do nine people reach a final decision on precedent-setting cases? Here’s a peek into their seven-step process.

1: Accept the Case

While a rare few cases originate in the Supreme Court, the nation’s highest court is primarily an appellate court, meaning it rules on opinions already made by lower courts. The Supreme Court can only accept between 100 and 150 cases a year out of the 7,000 cases that it’s asked to review.

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