Philosophies of American Law
School of thought concerning the purpose of law and how it should operate
Philosophy which emphasizes the individual's right to make personal choices as long as they do not interfer with another's right to make personal choices
Promotes society's values as a measuring stick for right and wrong; evaluates legal rule by looking at its social effect.
Determines what reasonable person would do in a given situation and then sanctions that conduct.
Sometimes called Adjective Law, complements substantive law by providing the mechanism to enforce substantive rights and duties.
Rules designed to protect society by providing minimum standards of conduct which must be observed by each of its members.
Crime for which the maximum possible punishment is either death or imprisonment for one year or more.
A crime for which the maximum possible punishment is a fine or imprisonment for less than one year.
Those legal rules which focus on the rights and duties of individuals in relation to each other.
The wrongful act (or breach) for which the law provides a remedy (typically in the form of monetary damages).
Enforceable agreement between two or more parties (requires offer, acceptance, consideration)
United States Constitution
Written agreement which unites the states as one cohesive nation and is the supreme law of the land.
Separation of Power
Divides governmental power between three branches (executive, legislative and judicial)
Written law enacted either by Congress or a state legislature which must comply with the Federal Constitution.
Process used by judges to analyze past cases to determine if there are any similar facts and issues present.
When stare decises reveals that one or more cases are found, the present case must be decided in the same way.
When a state law directly conflicts with a federal law on the same subject, federal law controls.
Each state is allowed to regulate itself in any area affecting the general health, safety and welfare of its citizens.
Article I of the Constitution
Establishes Congress as the legislative branch of Federal Government and lists the powers of Congress.
Writ of Habeas Corpus
Article I of the Constitution forbids Congress from suspending the writ of habeas corpur except during rebellion or invasion.
Bill of Atttainder
Article I forbids law directed against a specific person or group specifically prohibited by Article I of the constitution
Article II of the Constitution
Grants judicial review to the United States Supreme Court (and such other inferior federal courts as Congress may establish).
Freedom of religion, speech and press; right to assemble and right to petition the government.
No double jeopardy or self-incrimination in criminal cases; guarantees due process of law and just compensation when private property is taken.
States retain powers not delegated under the Constitution and not prohibited by it to the States.
Amendment 14 to the Constitution
Prohibits States from making or enforcing any laws which diminish the privileges and immunities of any citizen; requires due process of law and equal protection under the law.
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
Relates to the type of case which a court is authorized to hear (can never be waived by court or parties)
A court cannot hear every type of case presented to it - only the types of cases which are listed in its creating constitution or statutory provision.
Means a court can hear any type of case presented to it unless exclusive jurisdiction has been granted to some other court for a particular type of case.
Means the trial court for those types of cases specified in its creating constitutional provision or statute.
Means that more than one court is authorized to hear a specific type of case.
Long Arm Statutes
Allows a court to reach across state boundary lines to reach a defendant and to require him to defend himself in the forum state.
Quasi In Rem Jurisdiction
Arises when subject matter of the suit does not relate to property in the court's jurisdiction, but the defendant has property in the court's jurisdiction which can be used to satisfy the judgment.
Refers to the place of trial, or more specifically, the location within a particular judisdiction where trial should take place (usually in the place where the claim arose, where the defendant resides or where the defendant either has a place of business or an agent.
United States Supreme Court
Court of last resort in the American legal sytem; has nine justices appointed for life.
U.S. Supreme Court Concurrent Jurisdiction
Over actions involving ambassadors, public ministers, etc.; disputes between U.S. and a state; and action by a state against citizens of another state or against aliens.
U.S. Supreme Court Jurisdiction
Appellate jurisdiction of all U.S Court of Appeals and each state's highest appellate court
Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
Exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all cases involving copyright, patent, trademark and plant variety protection as well as U.S. Claims Court, U.S. Court of International Trade and U.S. Court of Veterans Appeals
Court of Appeal Jurisdiction
Final decisions of the U.S. District Court except those involving cases within the exclusive appellate jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
U.S. District Court Jurisdiction
Original jurisdiction over cases involving federal question and diversity of citizenship cases
Diversity of Citizenship
Civil action between the citizens of different states where the matter in controversy exceeds $50,000
U.S. District Court Concurrent Jurisdiction
Suits against the U.S. or its officers (concurrent with U.S. Claims Court up to $10,000)
U.S. District Court Exclusive Jurisdiction
Any action for admiralty, maritime, price cases or suits brought by the U.S., its agencies or officers; bankruptcy; copyright, patent, trademark and plant variety; improper collection of Internal Revenue and customs duties; civil rights; affecting ambassadors, public ministers and consuls
U.S. Court of International Trade
Hears disputes between citizens and the government based upon import and export matters.
U.S. Claims Court
Hears claims of citizens against the government based upon federal law or contract
Federal Magistrate Court
Assists the U.S. District Court in areas such as minor cases if the parties consent; conducting preliminary hearings in criminal cases and conducting pretrial conferences in federal civil case.
Original jurisdiction in all bankruptcy matters and in some civil or criminal matters relating to debtors.
Carries the greatest weight in the decision-making process and includes constitution, statutes, administrative rules and regulations and case law of the state.
Primary law to the extent that it relates to the facts and issues of the pending case; it must be followed in the pending case.
May assist a court in reaching a decision in a pending case, but it need not be followed if the court does not wish to.
Case of First Impression
A case where there are no applicable statutes and no precedents in the case law of the jurisdiction.
Conflics of Law
Where the facts of a case occur in a state other than the forum state or when the facts of a case occur in more than one state.
Significant Relationship Rule
The court applies the substantive law of the place having the most significant contacts with the occurrence or event.
Lex Loci Contractus
The law of the State where the last act occured which was required to create a binding contract.
Request that full faith and credit shall be given in each State to the public acts, records and judicial proceedings of each other State.
Final judgment has been rendered in a case; prohibits litigation based on the same facts between the same parties be filed again.
Statute of Limitations
Time limit fixed by the legislature within which a civil action in a certain type of case must be filed.
Insulates a parent from suit by unemancipated children in the area of child rearing and discipline.
Insulates parties by allowing enforcement of an exculpatory clause on a case-by-case basis.
Focus on the Plaintiff's loss; may consisit of general, special or consequential damages
A minimum award to vindicate a right which has been violated but no monetary loss occurred
Arises in contact cases only and are agreed upon at the time the contract is made; reasonable estimate of losses in the event of breach.
Focuses on the defendant's gains rather than the plaintiff's losses; prevents a defendant from profiting by their wrongful conduct
Is a suit which asks the court to declare the rights of parties in an impending dispute.
Equitable remedy available only in contract cases in that it voids the underlying contract.
is sought to correct errors in a document evidencing a contract or in a deed of conveyance.
An equitable remedy available only in contract cases; available when the subject matter of the contract is unique and the only way to make the disappointed buyer whole is to award her the benefit of the contract.
Third party dispute resolution without litigation where the decision of the arbitrator is binding on the parties.