Despite title, Supreme Court not always supreme

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Nothing about the Supreme Court -- not its magnificent building atop Capitol Hill nor its very title -- suggests that its word is anything other than final. Yet federal appellate judges and even state court judges sometimes find ways to insist on an outcome the Supreme Court has rejected.

The appeals court in Washington where four Supreme Court justices trained, the Oregon Supreme Court, and occasionally even the San Francisco-based federal appeals court, have in recent years won battles with the justices.

The efforts bring complaints from lawyers on the losing end of these cases and from some scholars that the judges are "thumbing their noses" at the Supreme Court. Those complaints, however, are usually expressed in the more polite legalese of the courtroom.