amicus curiae brief
a brief filed (with the permission of the court) by an individual or group that is not a party to a legal action but has an interest in it.
the authority of a court to hear cases that have been tried, decided, or reexamined in other courts.
the heart of a judicial opinion; its logical content separated from facts, rhetoric, and procedure.
a court case that involves a private dispute arising from such matters as accidents, contractual obligations, and divorce.
a procedure by which similarly situated litigants may be heard in a single lawsuit.
common (judge-made) law
legal precedents derived from previous judicial decisions.
the agreement of a judge with the court's majority decision, for a reason other that the majority reason.
a court case involving a crime, or violation of public order.
the disagreement of a judge with a majority decision.
a court's agenda.
an issue covered by the US Constitution, national laws, or US treaties.
the judicial decision in a court case.
a judicial philosophy whereby judges interpret existing laws and precedents loosely and interject their own values in court decisions.
a judicial philosophy whereby judges adhere closely to statutes and precedents in reaching their decisions.
the power to declare congressional (and presidential) acts invalid because they violate the Constitution.
the authority of a court to hear a case before any other court does.
a defendant's admission of guilt in exchange for a less severe punishment.
a judicial ruling that serves as the basis for the ruling in a subsequent case.
rule of four
an unwritten rule that requires at least four justices to agree that a case warrants consideration before it is reviewed by the US Supreme Court.
a norm under which a nomination must be acceptable to the home state senator from the president's party.
the third-highest official of the US Department of Justice, and the one who represents the national government before the Supreme Court.
literally, "let the decision stand"; decision making according to precedent.
US court of appeals
a court within the second tier of the three-tiered federal court system, to which decisions of the district courts and federal agencies may be appealed for reverse.
US district court
a court within the lowest tier of the three-tiered federal court system; a court where litigation begins.