legislative branch

the branch of government that makes the laws.

executive branch

the branch of government that enforces the laws

judicial branch

the branch of government that interprets laws


a system in which power is divided between the national and state governments


To change

Bill of Rights

The first 10 amendments to the Constitution


introduction to the Constitution

popular sovereignty

the notion that the power lies with the people

rule of law

principle that the law applies to everyone, even those who govern

separation of powers

Principle by which the powers of government are divided among separate branches

checks and balances

A system that allows each branch of government to limit the powers of the other branches in order to prevent abuse of power

expressed powers

powers that congress has that are specifically listed in the constitution and are given to the national government

reserved powers

powers that the Constitution does not give to the national government that are kept by the states

concurrent powers

powers that are shared by both the federal and state governments

civil liberties

freedom to think and act without government interference or fear of unfair legal treatment


the banning of printed materials or films due to alarming or offensive ideas


a formal request


spoken untruths that are harmful to someone's reputation


printed untruths that are harmful to someone's reputation

search warrant

A court order allowing law enforcement officers to search a suspect's home or business and take specific items as evidence


a formal charge by a grand jury

grand jury

a group of citizens that decides whether there is sufficient evidence to accuse someone of a crime

double jeopardy

being tried twice for the same crime

due process

following established legal procedures

eminent domain

the right of government to take private property for public use


a sum of money used as a security deposit to ensure that an accused person returns for his or her trial


the right to vote

writ of habeas corpus

a court order that requires police to bring a prisoner to court to explain why the person is being held

bill of attainder

a law that punishes a person without a jury trial

ex post facto laws

laws that make an act a crime after the act has been committed

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