Criteria for Supreme Court Granting Writ of Certiorari:
The Circuit Splits Blog has a good summary discussion on this issue. Occupy the Docket: How the Supreme Court Selects the 1% (Circuit Splits Blog 5/24/12), here. Highly recommended.
Useful Tools for the Appellate Judge in Avoiding a Subjective Result:
The Circuit Split Blog has this excellent short blog with a good video link: 6 Tools in the Appellate Judge's Toolbox (Circuit Split Blog 5/21/12), here. Discusses a 2006 interview of Justice Breyer and Justice Scalia in which Justice Breyer offered these six tools as useful in avoiding a subjective result (cut and paste):
(1) the statutory text;
(2) the statute's legislative history (i.e., "how did those words get there?");
(3) tradition (i.e., "how those words have come to be used before and after");
(5) the purpose of the statute or statutory phrase in question; and
(6) the consequences that are relevant to achieving the purpose of the statute at issue (e.g., "the Fourth Amendment is about privacy, not speech," and "the First Amendment is about speech, not privacy").