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a court's authority to hear and decide cases

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


in accordance with the constitution

judicial review

the power of the Supreme Court to say whether any federal, state, or local law or government action goes against the Constitution


a court's calendar, showing the schedule of cases it is to hear


a written document explaining the position of one side or the other in a case

majority opinion

a statement that expresses the views of the majority of the Supreme Court justices regarding a case

dissenting opinion

a statement written by a justice who disagrees with the majority opinion, presenting his or her opinion

concurring opinion

a statement written by a justice who votes with the majority, but for different reasons

state decisis

the practice of using earlier judicial rulings as a basis for deciding cases

district courts

federal courts where trials are held and lawsuits are begun

original jurisdiction

the authority to hear cases for the first time

appeals courts

a court that reviews decisions made in lower district courts

appellate jurisdiction

the authority of a court to hear a case appealed from a lower court


the area of jurisdiction of a federal court of appeals


to send a case back to a lower court to be tried again


a detailed explanation of the legal thinking behind a court's decision in a case


a ruling that is used as the basis for a judicial decision in a later, similar case

court of appeals

the federal court that hears only cases appealed from the lower district courts or from federal regulatory agencies

civil case

a legal dispute that does not involve criminal charges


a court order requiring a person to appear and testify in court


a complaint that is made to the court

criminal case

a case in which juries decide whether people have committed crimes

court martial

a trial before a panel of military officers


the official in a district court who issues court orders and determines whether cases should be brought to trial


the district court official who serves subpoenas and arrests and delivers defendants to court

inferior court

courts of lower authority

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