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31 terms

Ch 12 American Government & Politics

Vocabulary and important terms or cases from the American Government & Politics Today 2010-2011 Brief Edition
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Common Law
Judge-made law that originated in England from decisions shaped according to prevailing custom. Decisions were applied to similar situations and gradually became common to the nation.
Precedent
A court rule bearing on subsequent legal decisions in similar cases. Judges rely on this in deciding cases.
Stare Decisis
To stand on decided cases; the judicial policy of following precedents established by past decisions
Case Law
judicial interpretations of common law principles an doctrines, as well as interpretations of consitutional law, statuary law, and administrative law
Jurisdiction
The authority of a court to decide certain cases. Not all courts have the authority to decide all cases. Where a case arises and what its subject matter is are two issues.
Federal Question
a question that had to do with the US Constitution, acts of Congress, or treaties; it provides a basis for federal jurisdiction
Diversity of Citizenship
The condition that exists when the parties to a lawsuit are citizens of different states, or when the parties are citizens of a U.S. state and citizens or the government of a foreign country. Diversity of citizenship can provide a basis for federal jurisdiction.
Justiciable Controversy
A controversy that is real and substantial, as opposed to hypothetical or academic.
Litigate
to engage in a legal proceeding or seek relief in a court of law; to carry on a lawsuit
Amicus Curiae Brief
A brief (a document containing a legal argument supporting a desired outcome in a particular case) filed by a third party, ________ (Latin for "friend of the court"), who is not directly involved in the litigation but who has an interest in the outcome of the case.
Class-Action Suit
a lawsuit filed by a individual seeking damdages for "all persons similarly situated"
Trial Court
the court in which most cases begin
General Jurisdiction
Exists when a court's authority to hear cases is not significantly restricted. Normally can hear a broad range of cases.
Limited Jurisdiction
exists when a court's authority to hear cases is restricted to certain types of claims, such as tax claims or bankruptcy petitions
Appellate Court
A court having jurisdiction to review cases and issues that were originally tried in lower courts
Writ of Certiorari
An order by a higher court directing a lower court to send up a case for review
Rule of Four
a US supreme court prcedure by which 4 justices must vote to grant a petition for review if a case is to come before the full court
Oral Arguments
The verbal arguments presented in person by attorneys to an appellate court. Each attorney presents reasons to the court why the court should rule in her or his client's favor
Opinion
The statement by a judge or a court of the decision reached in a case. Sets forth the applicable law and details the reasoning on which the ruling was based.
Affirm
to declare that a court ruling is valid and must stand
Reverse
to annul or make void a court ruling on account of some error or irregularity
Remand
to send a case back to the court that originally heard it
Unanimous Opinion
a court opinion or determination on which all judges agree
Majority Opinion
a court opinion reflecting the views of the majority of the judges
Concurring Opinion
an opinion that agrees with the majority in a Supreme Court ruling but differs on the reasoning
Dissenting Opinion
a seperate opinion in which a judge dissents from the conclusion reache by the majority on the court and expounds his or her own views about the case
Senatorial Courtesy
in federal district court judgeship nominations, a tradition allowing a senator to veto a judicial appointment in his or her state
Judicial Activism
A doctrine holding that the Supreme Court should take an active role by using its powers to check the activities of governmental bodies when those bodies exceed their authority.
Judicial Restraint
a doctrine holding that the supreme court should defer to the decisions made by the elected representatives of the people in the legislative and executive branches
Judicial Implementation
the way in which court decisions are translated into action
Political Question
an issue that a court believes should be decided by the executive or legislative branch