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The highest courts of the 50 states are by any measure important legal institutions. The state supreme courts (SSCs) handle an enormous volume of significant cases every year, cases that have made the journey up the steep ladder of appeal. Although often overshadowed in the public eye by the federal courts, SSCs decide many fundamental issues of individual rights and governmental powers. They are the courts of last resort on most issues of commercial and property law, family and inheritance law, tort and criminal law, and powers and procedures of local government.

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