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Federal Question-In General

To review a particular state court decision under the federal statute by the Supreme Court depends upon the presence of a federal question in that case.  Final judgments or decrees rendered by the highest court of a State can be reviewed by:[i]

  • The Supreme Court by writ of certiorari if the validity of a treaty or statute of the U.S. is put in question; or
  • If the validity of a statute of any State is in question because of its repugnancy to the Constitution, treaties, or laws of the U.S.; or
  • If any title, right, privilege, or immunity is claimed under the Constitution or the treaties or statutes of, or any commission held or authority exercised under the U.S.

The decisions made by a state court on a federal law can be reviewed by the supreme court of the U.S.  The Supreme Court does not possess general jurisdiction that can rectify any error in the proceedings of a state court.  Similarly, the powers conferred to Supreme Court to correct denials of federal rights are limited in certain instances.

It was observed in Oregon v. Guzek, 546 U.S. 517 (U.S. 2006), that the U.S. Supreme Court can reach the federal questions if a state supreme court clearly depended its decision solely on the U.S. Constitution.

Thus, the Supreme Court can only deal with cases raising issues relating to the constitutionality of federal or state statutes, or to certain rights, immunities, and privileges of federal origin.

[i] 28 USCS § 1257

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