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the branch of law that deals with disputes or actions involving criminal penalties (as opposed to civil law). It regulates the conduct of individuals, defines crimes, and provides punishment for criminal acts
a system of jurisprudence, including private law and governmental actions, for settling disputes that do not involve criminal penalties
prior cases whose principles are used by judges as the bases for their decisions in present cases
Literally, "let the decision stand." The doctrine whereby a previous decision by a court applies as a precedent in similar cases until that decision is overruled
the highest court in a particular state or in the United States. This court primarily serves an appellate function
the guarentee that no citizen may be subjected to arbitrart action by national or state government
writ of habeas corpus
a court order demanding that an individual in custody by brought to court and shown the cause for detention. Habeas corpus os guarenteed by the constitution and can be suspected only in cases of rebellion and invasion
the practice whereby the president, before fornally nominating a person for a federal judgeship, finds out whether the senators from that state support the nomination
the power of the courts to declare actions of the legislative and executive branch invalid or unconstitutional. The Supreme Court asserted this power in Marbury v. Madison (1803)
A clause of Article VI of the constitution that states that all laws passed by the national government and all treaties are the supreme laws of the land and superior to all laws adopted by any state or any subdivision
writ of certiorari
a formal request by an appellant to have the Supreme Court review a decision of a lower court. Certiorari is from a Latin word meaning "to make more certain"
"Friend of the court," an individual or group who is no party to a lawsuit but seeks to assist the court in reaching a decision by presenting an additional brief
written documents in which attorneys explain - using case precedents - why the court should rule in favor of their client
the stage in Supreme Court proceedings in which attorneys for both sides appear before the court to present their positions and answer questions posed by the justices
a concurring opinion that agrees with the outcome and the majority's rationale but highlights a specific legal point
a concurring opinion that agrees with the outcome but disagrees with the rationale presented by the majority opinion
a decision written by a justice who voted with the majority opinion in a particular case, in which the justice fully explains the reasoning behind his or her opinion
the judicial philosophy whereby its adherents refuse to go beyonf the text of the constitution in interpreting its meaning
the judicial philosophy that posits that the court should see beyond the text of the constitution or a statute to consider broader societal implications for its decision
rule of four
the rule that certiorari will be granted only if four justices vote in favor of the petition
class action suit
a lawsuit in which a large number of persons with common interests joing together under a representative party to bring or defend a lawsuit, as when hundreds of workers join together to sue a company
court serves as a venus in which the facts of a case are established, punishment is meted out to violaters, and compensation is awarded to victims (After-the-Fact)
anticipation of legal consequences allows private parties to form rational expectations and thereby coordinate their actions in advance of possible disputes (Before-the-Fact)
3rd in status in the Department of Justice; top government lawyer om virtually all cases before apellate courts in which the government is a party; screens cases before the supreme court
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