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Getting a case heard by the Supreme Court is considerably more difficult than gaining admission to Harvard. In 2010, there were 5,910 petitions for a Writ of Certiorari filed with the Supreme Court, but cert was granted for only 165 cases. That is a success rate of only 2.8%. (In contrast, Harvard admitted 5.9% of its applicants in the year 2012). Over half the petitions submitted come from pro se and/or indigent criminal defendants or civil litigants. Since these petitions are drafted by non-attorneys, they enjoy a considerably lower success rate. Focusing only on attorney-submitted petitions, the success rate is closer to 6%, a rate that at least offers a ray of hope.
Here are some interesting statistics that are compiled from data supplied by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, between 2007-2010 and compiled in the Sourcebook of Criminal Justice published by the University of Albany.
|Petitions for a Writ of Certiorari Filed Between 2007-2010|
|Success Rate of Petitions for Writ of Certiorari (Granted/Filed)%|