Yee v. Escondido, 503 U.S. 519, 17 (1992)

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Cite as: 503 U. S. 519 (1992)

Opinion of the Court

ent ways, by physical occupation and by regulation, are not separate claims. They are, rather, separate arguments in support of a single claim—that the ordinance effects an unconstitutional taking. Having raised a taking claim in the state courts, therefore, petitioners could have formulated any argument they liked in support of that claim here.

A litigant seeking review in this Court of a claim properly raised in the lower courts thus generally possesses the ability to frame the question to be decided in any way he chooses, without being limited to the manner in which the question was framed below. While we have on occasion rephrased the question presented by a petitioner, see, e. g., Ankenbrandt v. Richards, 502 U. S. 1023 (1992), or requested the parties to address an important question of law not raised in the petition for certiorari, see, e. g., Payne v. Tennessee, 498 U. S. 1080 (1991), by and large it is the petitioner himself who controls the scope of the question presented. The petitioner can generally frame the question as broadly or as narrowly as he sees fit.

The framing of the question presented has significant consequences, however, because under this Court's Rule 14.1(a), "[o]nly the questions set forth in the petition, or fairly included therein, will be considered by the Court." While "[t]he statement of any question presented will be deemed to comprise every subsidiary question fairly included therein," ibid., we ordinarily do not consider questions outside those presented in the petition for certiorari. See, e. g., Berkemer v. McCarty, 468 U. S. 420, 443, n. 38 (1984). This rule is prudential in nature, but we disregard it "only in the most exceptional cases," Stone v. Powell, 428 U. S. 465, 481, n. 15 (1976), where reasons of urgency or of economy suggest the need to address the unpresented question in the case under consideration.

Rule 14.1(a) serves two important and related purposes. First, it provides the respondent with notice of the grounds upon which the petitioner is seeking certiorari, and enables


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