Alabama Supreme Court can only review grounds accepted on certiorari

The Alabama Supreme Court quashed a writ of certiorari in Ex parte State of Alabama Dept. of Revenue, [Ms. 1061766] (Ala. March 21, 2008) because it could not reach the issue presented.  On certiorari, the State of Alabama Department of Revenue filed a petition for writ of certiorari asking the Supreme Court to reverse a prior case involving the same parties.  The Court of Civil Appeals’ opinion, however, was based on the doctrine of collateral estoppel.  The Supreme Court found that the State did not challenge that finding in its cert petition.  Because the issue of collateral estoppel would have to be addressed before reaching the issue of whether to overrule the prior case, and because the State did not seek review if the collateral estoppel issue, the Court held that it could not reach the issue presented in the cert petition and quashed the writ.

In a special concurrence, Justice See noted that the Alabama Supreme Court had the authority to issue a writ of certiorari ex mero motu.  Therefore, in his opinion, quashing the writ was not required, but was appropriate.