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The writ of certiorari or simply certiorari (abbreviated as cert.) describes an extraordinary writ (=an official document that tells someone to do something or to stop doing something) issued by an appellate court at its discretion (=the freedom to decide how to act or what should be done in a particular situation) that directs a lower court to deliver the record in a case for review.

The United States Supreme Court uses certiorari to review most of the cases that it decides to hear on appeal. Generally, for the Court to grant (=to give or allow someone something, usually in an official way) certiorari a case must present a conflict in lower courts or an important question of federal law.