We’ve all threatened (at least in our mind) to fight some speeding ticket or poop-scoop fine “[::obligatory shaking fist in air::] all the way to the Supreme Court!”
Now obviously that is often a ludicous threat, but every now and then you hear about a case that makes you wonder – something like Wilma’s House of Doilies v. Califoria. (Yes, I made that up.)And that’s what I’m curious about.
It seems (remember, IANAL) that the little cases are not themselves tried by the SCOTUS (say, did some kid actually rob the grocery store or not?) but rather the legal issues surrounding the case are (like, is said kid old enough to be tried as an adult?, or did his arrest procedure constitute due process?, or was the law he broke constitutional?, etc.). So even though the cases themselves are small, the issues can be huge.
Okay. Now I can’t imagine that some petty criminal is so obssessed with the flaws of the legal system to spend years and years – and no doubt tens of thousands of dollars – pushing and pushing his case through the system in the hope of making it to the SCOTUS.* So somewhere along the line some big interest group – like the ACLU or a labor union or Planned Parenthood – adopts the case and pays all the bills and does all the pushing, right?
Well, how does that behind the scenes business work? Is there someone in those big interest groups on the job 24/7 scouring the dockets looking for test cases that match the lobbying agenda of his/her group. Or are they out there “creating” test cases on purpose with zealot activists who are willing to endure the legal rigamarole for the cause? Or are public defenders – or even accused individuals – phoning up said groups asking that their case be adopted?
- Though if someone did do it that way I’d love to hear about it.