The United States Supreme Court is the “highest” court in the land. It has authority to hear appeals in nearly all cases decided in the Federal court system. It can also hear appeals that involve a “federal question”, such as an issue involving a federal statute or an issue arising under the U. S. Constitution. The Supreme Court will generally hear cases that originate in state court only after a decision by that state’s highest court. Despite the great number of criminal cases that are appealed, very few criminal cases are ever heard by the Supreme Court. Fewer than 100 cases are actually heard and decided by the Supreme Court in any given year, and of these only a few are criminal cases.