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administrative law

regulations and decisions that explain and detail statutes. such regulations and decisions are issued by administrative agencies.

judicial law

opinions issued by members of the judiciary in legal disputes that have the effect of law

legal standard

Legal principle, point of law. May take the form of statutory, judicial, or administrative law.

modern balance

Goal of lawmaking authorities is to balance the need for consistency and stability against the need for a flexible and adaptive government.

naturalist theory

Philosophy that all persons inherently know the difference between right and wrong.

positivist theory

The political belief that there should be a superior government entity that is not subject to question or challenge.


Existing legal standards to which courts look for guidance when making a determination of a legal issue.

sociological theory

Doctrine following the principle that government should adapt laws to reflect society's current needs and beliefs

stare decisis

"Let the decision stand." Method used by the judiciary when applying precedent to current situations.

Statutory law

A statute; law created by a legislature

traditional balance

Goal of the judiciary is to allow maximum personal freedom without detracting from the welfare of the general public.

appellate court

A court that reviews the actions of a trial court and determines whether an error has been committed that requires corrective action.

federal court

a court that is part of the U.S. court system, has limited authority, and hears only cases involving the U.S. government, federal laws, or appropriate cases of diversity of citizenship

legal analysis

the process of examining precedent in detail in order to predict its effect on future similar circumstances

state court

a court that is a part of the judicial branch in the state in which it is located. Typically, state courts hear cases that involve state law

trial court

a court that has authority to hear the evidence of the parties before it and render a verdict


Proposed law presented to the legislature for consideration.


Process of incorporating newly passed legislation into existing publication of statutes.


individual hired to meet with (and usually try to exert influence on) legislators regarding proposed laws


A person elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, the composition of which is designed to ensure equal representation of all citizens.


A person elected to the U.S. Senate, the compostition of which is desingned to ensure equal representation of all states.

session law

law passed during a particular session of congress


Presidential power to invalidate a law passed by a majority of Congress: a two-thirds majority of each house is needed to override a veto.

administrative agency

Government office created by the legislature and overseen by the executive branch. The purpose of such an agency is to apply certain specified laws created by the legislature.

Administrative Procedure act (APA)

congressional enactment that requires all federal administrative agencies to follow certain procedures in the issuance of administrative law

administrative regulation

form of administrative law; a regulation that defines, clarifies, or enforces a statutory objective

Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)

Publication that contains all current administrative regulations

delegation doctrine

principle that congress may not assign its authority to create statutory law and no other government entity can assume such authority

enabling act

Congressional enactment that creates the authority in the executive to organize and oversee an administrative agency by establishing specific legislative goals and objectives

exhaustion of administrative remedies

the requirement that anyone having a dispute with an administrative agency must first follow all available procedures to resolve the dispute within the agency before taking the issue before the judiciary

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