Last weekend, I chaired a two-day seminar on appellate and habeas practice. GACDL hosted the seminar at my alma mater, the Georgia State University College of Law. I’m jealous of their new building. We didn’t exactly have it tough at the old Urban Life Building, but the new kids are lucky to be in such a cool space. As for the seminar, I took good notes and plan to steal from our speakers for the next several posts.
The theft starts right now with this incredible one-liner from Justice Nels Peterson from the Supreme Court of Georgia. Here’s what he said about the difference between an appeal and a cert petition:
“The appeal is for your client. The cert. petition is for the public.” To quote Rule 40, “a petition for the writ will be granted only in cases of great concern, gravity, or importance to the public.”
This pithy statement has been the subject of many a discussion with lawyers who have reached out for advice on how to do a cert. petition. It is not much of a stretch to say to lawyers that the Court doesn’t particularly care about their client. When it comes to cert, the law is all that matters. The pitch on cert. is to the potential precedent not the client’s sense of injustice.