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118 terms

government 50-100%

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inferior courts
lower federal courts beneath the supreme court, hear minor criminal cases such as traffic offenses and civil cases involving small amounts of money and conduct preliminary hearings in more serious criminal cases
jurisdiction
the extent of authority or control; the right and power to interpret and apply the law
exclusive jurisdiction
authority of only federal courts to hear and decide cases.
concurrent jurisdiction
authority for both state and federal courts to hear and decide cases
plaintiff
a person or party filing a lawsuit
defendant
someone who has been accused of committing a crime
original jurisdiction
The jurisdiction of courts that hear a case first, usually in a trial. These are the courts that determine the facts about a case.
appellate jurisdiction
The jurisdiction of courts that hear cases brought to them on appeal from lower courts. These courts do not review the factual record, only the legal issues involved.
criminal case
legal proceedings brought against a person or group accusing that person or group of having committed a public wrong, or crime. A criminal case involves a trial, while, with a civil case, the term "lawsuit" is more generally applied. In a criminal case, the State is always one of the parties - the prosecutor.
civil case
a case involving a noncriminal matter such as a contract dispute or a claim of patent infringement. , a lawsuit brought against one person or group to enforce or protect a private right; prevent a private wrong (tort); or obtain compensation for a private wrong (tort). This is different from a criminal case, which involves the committing of a crime, or public wrong.
docket
The list of potential cases that reach the Supreme Court.
writ of certiorari
Order by the Supreme Court directing a lower court to send up the records of a case for review
certificate
a method of putting a case before the Supreme Court; used when a lower court is not clear about the procedure or rule of law that should apply in a case and asks the Supreme Court to certify the answer to a specific question
majority opinion
a statement that presents the views of the majority of supreme court justices regarding a case
precedent
a ruling that is used as the basis for a judicial decision in a later, similar case
concurring opinion
An opinion that agrees with the majority in a Supreme Court ruling but differs on the reasoning.
dissenting oppinion
sometimes the minority in a case will write an opinion explaining why they
think the Court is wrong; can become very important politically or in the future
redress
make reparations or amends for
court-martial
A military court or a trial held in such a court under military law.
civilian tribunal
a court operating as part of the judicial branch, entirely separate from the military establishment
per curiam opinion
A brief, unsigned opinion issued by the Supreme Court to explain its ruling.
brief
a written statement by an attorney that summarizes a case and the laws and rulings that support it
amicus curiae
A Latin term meaning "friend of the court." Refers to interested groups or individuals, not directly involved in a suit, who may file legal briefs or oral arguments in support of one side.
advisory opinion
In some judicial systems, a formal opinion on a point of law given by a judge or court when requested by a legislature or government official.
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.
impound
to confine; to retain in legal custody
judicial review
the power of the Supreme Court to declare laws and actions of local, state, or national governments unconstitutional
bloc
members of a legislative body, not necessarily of the same party who have common aims and goals
swing vote
a vote that decides the result of an election
Bill of Rights
The first ten amendments of the U.S. Constitution, containing a list of individual rights and liberties, such as freedom of speech, religion, and the press.
civil liberties
the guarantees of the safety of persons, opinions, and property from the arbitrary acts of government, including freedom of speech and freedom of religion
civil rights
the rights of full citizenship and equality under the law
alien
a citizen of another country; foreign, strange
Due Process Clause
Clause in the Fifth Amendment limiting the power of the national government; similar clause in the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the state governments from depriving any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.
process incorporation
the process of incorporating , or including, most of the guarantees in the Bill of Rights into the 14th amendment's Due Process Clause
Establishment Clause
the First Amendment guarantee that the government will not create and support an official state church
parochial
narrow-minded; concerned only with local matters
Free Exercise Clause
the First Amendment guarantee that citizens may freely engage in the religious activities of their choice
libel
written untruths that are harmful to someone's reputation
slander
false charges and malicious oral statements about someone
sedition
behavior that promotes rebellion or civil disorder against the state
seditious speech
Urges resistance to lawful authority or advocates overthrowing the government.
prior restraint
A government preventing material from being published. This is a common method of limiting the press in some nations, but it is usually unconstitutional in the United States, according to the First Amendment and as confirmed in the 1931 Supreme Court case of Near v. Minnesota.
shield law
Law guaranteeing news reporters the right to protect the annonymity of their sources. States have passed this--not the federal government.
symbolic speech
nonverbal communication, such as burning a flag or wearing an armband. The Supreme Court has accorded some symbolic speech protection under the first amendment.
picketing
a public protest against management practices that involves union member marching and carring signs to the employers plant
Holocaust
A methodical plan orchestrated by Hitler to ensure German supremacy. It called for the elimination of Jews, non-conformists, homosexuals, non-Aryans, and mentally and physically disabled.
heckler's veto
one person's free speech can NOT take over another person's free speech. (You can't take a megaphone to a candidate's speech)
constitutional law
law created when constitutions are adopted or amended, or when courts interpret constitutions
statute
an act passed by a legislative body
ordinance
statutory law created by a town, city, or county
statutory law
Law passed by the U.S. Congress or state legislatures
administrative law
rules and procedures established by regulatory agencies
common law
a system of law based on precedent and customs
equity
the state or quality of being just, fair, or impartial; fair and equal treatment; something that is fair; the money value of a property above and beyond any mortgage or other claim
due process
principle in the Fifth Amendment stating that the government must follow proper constitutional procedures in trials and in other actions it takes against individuals
substantive due process
Constitutional requirement that governments act reasonably and that the substance of the laws themselves be fair and reasonable; limits what a government may do.
procedural due process
how a law is applied, government must proceed by certain methods; limits how government may exercise power, laws may violate this if they are too vague; limits mostly the judicial and executive branch
civil law
law concerned with private wrongs against individuals
contract
an agreement between two or more parties
expressed contract
a written or oral agreement in which all terms are explicitly stated
real property
physical property such as land and buildings
personal property
Movable objects, not real property, sometimes called chattels, such as cars, cash, stock
mortgage
a long-term loan extended to someone who buys property
tort
a private wrong or injury, other than breach of contract, for which the court will provide a remedy
injunction
an order that will stop a particular action or enforce a rule or regulation
criminal law
group of laws that defines and sets punishments for offenses against society
criminal justice system
system of state and federal courts, police, and prisons that enforces criminal law
petty offense
In criminal law, the least serious kind of criminal offense, such as a traffic or building-code violation.
misdemeanor
a crime or offense that is less serious than a felony; any minor misbehavior or misconduct
felony
a crime more serious than a misdemeanor and punishable by imprisonment for more than one year or death
arrest warrant
an order signed by a judge naming the individual to be arrested for a specific crime
grand jury
group that hears charges against a suspect and decides whether there is sufficient evidence to bring the person to trial
indictment
a formal charge by a grand jury
jury
a group of citizens chosen to hear evidence and make a decision in a court of law
verdict
the decision a jury makes in a trial; the decision said by the jury
police power
the authority of each state to act to protect and promote the public health, safety, morals and general welfare of its people
search warrant
A court order allowing law enforcement officers to search a suspect's home or business and take specific items as evidence
involuntary servitude
forced labor 13 amendment forbids
discrimination
unfair treatment based on prejudice against a certain group
writs of assistance
legal document that enabled officers to search homes and warehouses for goods that might be smuggled
probable cause
reasonable cause for issuing a search warrant or making an arrest; more than mere suspicion
exclusionary rule
the rule that evidence, no matter how incriminating, cannot be introduced into a trial if it was not constitutionally obtained. The rule prohibits use of evidence obtained through unreasonable search and seizure.
writ of habeas corpus
a court order that requires police to bring a prisoner to court to explain why they are holding the person
bill of attainder
a law that punishes a person accused of a crime without a trial or a fair hearing in court
ex post facto law
a law that would allow a person to be punished for an action that was not against the law when it was committed
double jeopardy
the Fifth Amendment right providing that a person cannot be tried twice for the same crime
bench trial
a trial in which a judge serves without a jury and rules on the law as well as the facts
Miranda Rule
the rule that police (when interrogating you after an arrest) are obliged to warn you that anything you say may be used as evidence and to read you your constitutional rights (the right to a lawyer and the right to remain silent until advised by a lawyer)
bail
a sum of money used as a security deposit to ensure that an accused person returns for his or her trial
preventive detention
a law which allows federal judges to order that an accused felon be held, without bail, when there is good reason to believe that he or she will commit yet another serious crime before trial
capital punishment
putting a condemned person to death
treason
the crime of betraying one's country
resident alien
a person from a foreign nation who has established permanent residence in the United States, but who has not completed the naturalization process.
non-resident alien
a person from a foreign country who expects to stay in the United States for a short, specified period of time.
enemy alien
a citizen of a nation with which the United States is at war
illegal alien
a foreigner who has entered or resides in a country unlawfully or without the country's authorization.
amnesty
a general pardon for an offense against a government; in general, any act of forgiveness or absolution
private law
(civil law) the body of law that deals with relationships between private individuals
immigrant
a person who comes to a country where they were not born in order to settle there
reservation
land set aside by the United States government for Native Americans
refugee
a person who has to leave his or her country to find safety.
assimilation
the process by which minorities gradually adopt patterns of the dominant culture
naturalization
the legal process by which citizens of one country become citizens of another
jus soli
the law of soil, which determines citizenship based on where a person is born
jus sanguinis
Literally meaning "right of blood", confers citizenship to a child from the parents.
collective naturalization
when a large group of people becomes citizens at the same time
expatriation
the act of abandoning one's country and giving up citizenship
denaturalization
Process by which a naturalized citizen may involuntarily lose their citizenship.
rational basis test
a test the Supreme Court developed to determine if a law is discriminatory, which is applied to laws dealing with age, disability, income, and similar categories
subject classification
is any classification of groups meeting a series of criteria suggesting they are likely the subject of discrimination. These classes receive closer scrutiny by courts when an Equal Protection claim alleging unconstitutional discrimination is asserted against a law, regulation, or other government action.
fundamental right
A basic right of all Americans, such as all First Amendment rights. Any law or action that prevents some group of persons from exercising this will be subject to the "strict-scrutiny" standard, under which the law or action must be necessary to promote a compelling state interest and must be narrowly tailored to meet that interest.
Jim Crow laws
The "separate but equal" segregation laws state and local laws enacted in the Southern and border states of the United States and enforced between 1876 and 1965
seperate but equal doctrine
The principle articulated in plessy v. ferguson that laws prescribing seperate public facilities and services for nonwhite Americans are permissible if the facilities and services are equal to those provided for whites
civil rights movement
a social movement in the United States during the 1950s and 1960s, in which people organized to demand equal rights for African Americans and other minorities. People worked together to change unfair laws. They gave speeches, marched in the streets, and participated in boycotts.
affirmative action
programs intended to make up for past discrimination by helping minority groups and women gain access to jobs and opportunities
security classification
sensitive information to which access is restricted by law or regulation to particular groups of persons.
transcript
a written, typewritten, or printed copy of something