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[Medieval Latin certiorari (volumus) (we wish) to be informed (words used in the Latin texts of such writs)]
: an extraordinary writ issued by a superior court (as the Supreme Court) to call up the records of a particular case from an inferior judicial body (as a Court of Appeals) see also the Judicial System in the back matter compare appeal NOTE: Certiorari is one of the two ways to have a case from a U.S. Court of Appeals reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court. Certification is the other. The Supreme Court may also use certiorari to review a decision by a state's highest court when there is a question as to the validity of a federal treaty or statute, or of a state statute on constitutional grounds. Certiorari is also used within state court systems.
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.