Almost all cases reach the docket of the United States Supreme Court through the discretionary writ of certiorari. In the normal course of events, the vast majority of petitions for a writ are denied. For those few petitions that are granted, the case is then briefed, orally argued, and decided on the merits. However, in a small number of cases the normal course is diverted, and the Court changes its mind by dismissing the writ of certiorari as improvidently granted. This action is usually referred to by the pithy acronym “DIG,” a convention we will use as well. Few cases are DIGged. In the past fifty years, the Court has on average only DIGged about two or three cases per Term. Given the paucity of numbers, why should anyone other than the cognoscenti of Court practice be interested in the DIG?
Michael E. Solimine & Rafael Gely, The Supreme Court and the Dig: An Empirical and Institutional Analysis, 2005 Wis. L. Rev. 1421 (2005)