With the Rittenhouse fiasco were a prosecutor pointed an assault rifle at jurors. Could SCOTUS give guidance as to how the issue of fire arms in the court room should be handled? And more specifically could SCOTUS regulate in what manner in which firearms are pointed. (Specifically not at jurors)

Would SCOTUS be able to govern such an issue or does that fall outside it's jurisdiction? I would be interested in what manner SCOTUS has influence on issues of a more practical nature in regards to lower courts.

  • Your question seems to imply that it is legal or even common that somebody (the defendant?) points a gun at a juror during a trial. Is this really so? I would find it shocking if the defendant was allowed to carry a gun in the courtroom.
    – PMF
    Aug 1, 2023 at 11:08
  • @PMF Yes it was a thinly veiled comment on the Chauven case were a poppycock prosecutor pointed an assault rifle at jurors.
    – Neil Meyer
    Aug 1, 2023 at 11:13
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    Okay, I fear my poor example may be spoiling a question on whether SCOTUS can prescribe certain practicalities to lower courts
    – Neil Meyer
    Aug 1, 2023 at 11:26
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    I have made substantial edits in an attempt to improve this question.
    – Neil Meyer
    Aug 1, 2023 at 11:31
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    Generally each court makes its own rules of decorum, but criminal law applies. The federal supreme court has no jurisdiction to specify rules for state courts, but it may be able to do so for lower federal courts. There's no need to, however, as noted in Dale M's answer. A better question might be a hypothetical concerning the circumstances under which a person might be prosecuted -- is the judge involved in the decision, for example? Does a state police officer in a state or federal court have authority to arrest for an observed felony? How is the court bailiff involved? Etc.
    – phoog
    Aug 1, 2023 at 12:33

1 Answer 1


The U.S. Supreme Court has no jurisdiction to set everyday procedural rules in state court, although it can mandate processes that flow from the constitution. In criminal cases, this allows it to regulate courtroom conduct that is prejudicial to defendants. The U.S. Supreme Court, for example, has prohibited keeping criminal defendants facing trial in a cage in the courtroom as is common in many jurisdictions elsewhere in the world.

The Rittenhouse case took place in state court, over which the U.S. Supreme Court has limited authority in such matters.

On the other hand, the U.S. Supreme Court has broad authority to establish court rules in the federal courts and could adopt rules in those courts if it deemed fit, and if its proposed rules were not legislatively vetoed by Congress.

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