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government charges individual with violating a statute

criminal law

disputes between individuals or between individuals and the government where no criminal violation is alleged; plaintiff often brings suit against a defendant seeking redress, often in monetary damages

civil law

american courts use this in deciding cases, where precedents guide decision making

stare decisis

3 main types of courts

trial courts, courts of appeals, supreme courts

most all of us cases are heard in these type of courts

state courts

what are the 2 types of lower federal courts

district courts and appellate courts

how many district courts are in the 50 states


where are additional district courts found besides in the states

dc, puerto rico, 3 US territories

how are appellate courts organized

12 geographical circuits, another for federal circuit.

review decisions of district courts and some fed. agency decisions

appellate courts

what is the supreme court presided over by

chief justice and 8 associate judges

current chief justice

john roberts

courts engage in fact finding and judgement of disputes after the fact

dispute resolution

courts provide clear signals as to how they may rule in a case

before the fact coordination

justices determine scope and content of legislative statutes and the constitution

rule interpretation

what court judges whether or not a president has exceeded his authority

supreme court

when parties have a substantial stake in the outcome of a case


3rd in status in the justice department, screens cases

solicitor general

assigned to justices to screen many cert petitions and play key roles in writing opinions

law clerks

when did the court expand

after WW2

protection of citizens from improper governmental action

civil liberties

claims citizens are entitled to make on governmental protection

civil rights

court case in which supreme court established dual citizenship

barron vs baltimore

says people are citizens of nat gov and state gov separately and bill of rights does not apply to states

dual citizenship

basis of thomas jefferson's wall of separation

establishment clause

court case that determined the constitutionality of government interactions with religion

lemon vs kurtzman

guarantees citizens rights to believe and practice whatever religion

free exercise clause

citizens rights against unreasonable searches and seizures

4th amendment

grand juries play a large role in fed criminal cases

5th amendment

illegally found evidence may not be used in a trial

4th amendment

individuals protected against double jeopardy

5th amendment

allows people to not testify against themselves

5th amendment

protects eminent domain clause

5th amendment

ensures citizens have right to counsel in criminal trials

6th amendment

prohibits excessive bail, excessive fines

8th amendment

prohibits cruel and unusual punishment

8th amendment

court case where supreme court said segregation was legal as long as it was equal

plessy vs ferguson

court case that overturned separate but equal

brown vs board of education

where do civil rights disputes center over now

affirmative action

a type of reverse discrimination

affirmative action

location of supremacy clause in constitution

article 6

requires agencies to notify parties affected by proposed rules and allow them ample time to comment on such rules before they go into effect

1946 administrative procedures act

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