23 terms


Chapter 14
Judicial review
The power of a court to refuse to enforce a law or government regulation that in the opinion of the judges conflicts with the U.S. Constitution or, in a state court, the state constitution.
Adversary system
A judicial system in which the court of law is a neutral arena where two parties argue their differences.
Criminal law
A law that defines crimes against the public order.
Civil law
A law that governs relationships between individuals and defines their legal rights.
Justiciable dispute
A dispute growing out of an actual case or controversy and that is capable of settlement by legal methods.
In a criminal action, the person or party accused of an offense.
Plea bargain
Agreement between a prosecutor and a defendant that the defendant will plead guilty to a lesser offense to avoid having to stand trial for a more serious offense.
Public defender system
Arrangement whereby public officials are hired to provide legal assistance to people accused of crimes who are unable to hire their own attorneys.
Original jurisdiction
The authority of a court to hear a case "in the first instance."
Appellate jurisdiction
The authority of a court to review decisions made by lower courts.
Court of appeals
A court with appellate jurisdiction that hears appeals from the decisions of 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.
Senatorial courtesy
Presidential custom of submitting the names of prospective appointees for approval to senators from the states in which the appointees are to work.
Judicial restraint
Philosophy proposing that judges should interpret the Constitution to reflect what the framers intended and what its words literally say
Judicial activism
Philosophy proposing that judges should interpret the Constitution to reflect current conditions and values.
Stare decisis
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.
Writ of certiorari
A formal writ used to bring a case before the Supreme Court.
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 the decision of the Supreme Court or any other appellate court.
Dissenting opinion
An opinion disagreeing with a majority in a Supreme Court ruling.
Concurring opinion
An opinion that agrees with the majority in a Supreme Court ruling but differs on the reasoning.