Cases reach SCOTUS for a variety of reasons. The law challenged is a particularly difficult or important area, such as the Fourth Amendment. There are differences in how a particular aspect of the law is being interpreted. A case deals with a significant issue related to the laws of the land, specifically the Constitution. In essence, there are no “other cases.” Every case before SCOTUS is important and has the ability to change how the country is run.
Take for example some of the “other cases” before SCOTUS this term:
What happens when a member of the Jury uses their work experience to racially profile a defendant? What if the Defendant only finds out after the decision of the Court is reached? That is the issue for the Court in Pena-Rodriguez v. Colorado.
What is the test for a useful article in Copyright? This could shift the understanding of copyrighted materials in the software and application realm. This is also before the Court in Star Athletica, LLC v. Varsity Brands.
There is a Voting Rights Case asking five questions about how race can and cannot be used in creating districts. These complex and difficult questions are before the Court in Bethune-Hill v. Virginia State Board of Elections. Other questions dealing with the Voting Rights Act are presented in McCrory v. Harris.
SCOTUS has granted review in about 40 cases for review this term. Typically, there are somewhere around 80 cases before the Court each year.
Each of these 80 cases asks at least one question which has divided minds. Most of these cases arise from situations where at least two Circuits have ruled, and ruled in different ways. Within those rulings, there are most likely dissenters. For any given question presented to the Court, there can be any number of different means, ways, and rationales to decide how to decide a case.
There are no “other cases” or “unimportant cases” before the Court. SCOTUS takes the cases that practitioners need answers to because of the divisions above. SCOTUS has the job of creating a uniform application of the law, so everyone covered by the laws of the United States can obtain the goal of justice.
If you want more information on any of the cases mentioned here, or the additional cases in front of the Court, I highly suggest visiting SCOTUSblog and the Supreme Court’s website.