Party instigating a civil lawsuit
A dispute growing out of an actual case that is capable of settlement by legal methods
Agreement between a prosecutor and a defendant that the defendant will plead guilty to a lesser offense to avoid having to stand trail for a more serious offense
The person or party accused of an offense
Government lawyer who tries criminal cases, often referred to as a district attorney or a U.S attorney
Criminal vs. Civil law
Criminal- can be imprisoned from the case, attorneys are provided, trail by jury
Civil- no right to attorney, no right to trail by jury
A law that governs relationships between individuals and defined their legal rights
A law that defines crimes against the public order
The power of a court to refuse to enforce a law that in the opinion of the judges conflicts with the U.S constitution
A judicial system in which the court of law is a neutral arena where two parties argue their differences
U.S attorney general
The chief law enforcement officer in the U.S and the head of the Department of Justice
The third-ranking official in the Department of Justice who is responsible for representing the U.S in cases before the U.S Supreme Court
Public defender system
An arrangement whereby public officials are hired to provide legal assistance to people accused of crimes who are unable to hire their own attorneys
Courts in which criminal and civil cases are originally tried in the federal judicial system
Circuit courts of appeals
Courts with appellate jurisdiction that hear appeals from the decisions of lower courts
The court of last resort in the U.S. It can hear appeals from federal circuit courts or state high courts.
The authority of a court to hear a case "in the first instance"
The authority of a court to review decisions made by lower courts
A decision made by a higher court such as a circuit court of appeals or the Supreme Court that is binding on all other federal courts.
Writ of habeas corpus
A court order requiring explanation to a judge why a prisoner is being held in custody
The presidential custom of submitting the names of prospective appointees for approval to senators from the states in which the appointees are to work.
A philosophy proposing that judges should strike down laws that are inconsistent with norms and values stated or implied in the Constitution
A philosophy prosing that judges should strike down the actions of the elected branches only if they clearly violate the literal meaning of the Constitution.
Writ of certiorari
A formal writ used to bring a case before the Supreme Court.
In forma pauperis
A petition that allows a party to file "as a pauper" and avoid paying Court fees
The list of potential cases that reach the Supreme Court
Amicus curiae brief
Literally, a "friend of the court" brief, filed by an individual or organization to present arguments in addition to those presented by the immediate parties to a case.
Opinion of the Court
An explanation of a decision of the Supreme Court or any other appellate court
An opinion disagreeing with the majority in a Supreme Court ruling
An opinion that agrees with the majority in a Supreme Court ruling but differs on the reasoning.
The rule of precedent, whereby a rule or law contained in a judicial decision is commonly viewed as binding on judges whenever the same question is presented.