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Amicus Curiae Brief
A brief (a document containing a legal argument supporting a desired outcome in a particular case) filed by a third party, or amicus curiae (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.
A court having jurisdiction to review cases and issues that were originally tried in lower courts.
Judicial interpretations of common law principles and doctrines, as well as interpretations of constitutional law, statutory law, and administrative law.
A lawsuit filed by an individual seeking damages for all persons similarly situated.
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.
A separate opinion prepared by a judge who supports the decision of the majority of the court but who wants to make or clarify a particular point or to voice disapproval of the grounds on which the decision was made.
A separate opinion in which a judge dissents from (disagrees with) the conclusion reached by the majority on the court and expounds his or her own views about the case.
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.
Exists when a court's authority to hear cases is not significantly restricted. A court of general jurisdiction normally can hear a broad range of cases.
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 jurisdictional issues.
A controversy that is real and substantial, as opposed to hypothetical or academic
The statement by a judge or a court of the decision reached in a case. The opinion sets forth the applicable law and details the reasoning on which the ruling was based.
A court rule bearing on subsequent legal decisions in similar cases. Judges rely on precedents in deciding cases.
Rule of Four
A United States Supreme Court procedure by which four justices must vote to grant a petition for review if a case is to come before the full court.
In federal district court judgeship nominations, a tradition allowing a senator to veto a judicial appointment in his or her state.
To stand on decided cases; the judicial policy of following precedents established by past decisions.
A judicial philosophy that looks to the letter of the law when interpreting the Constitution or a particular statute.
Writ of Certiorari
An order issued by a higher court to a lower court to send up the record of a case for review.
Public plans or courses of action that concern internal issues of national importance, such as poverty, crime, and the environment.
Federal Open Market Committee
The most important body within the Federal Reserve System. The Federal Open Market Committee decides how monetary policy should be carried out.
Federal Reserve System (the Fed)
The agency created by Congress in 1913 to serve as the nation's central banking organization.
Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
The dollar value of all final goods and services produced in a one-year period.
A school of economic thought that tends to favor active federal government policymaking to stabilize economy-wide fluctuations, usually by implementing discretionary fiscal policy.
A joint state-federal program that provides medical care to the poor (including indigent elderly persons in nursing homes). The program is funded out of general government revenues.
A federal health-insurance program that covers U.S. residents over the age of sixtyfive. The costs are met by a tax on wages and salaries.
the danger that protecting an individual or institution from the consequences of failure will encourage risky behavior
in health-care reform, the requirement that all citizens obtain health-care insurance coverage from some source, public or private
the inability of those who are in the labor force to find a job; the number of those in the labor force actively looking for a job, but unable to find one
Universal Health Insurance
Any of several possible programs to provide health insurance to everyone in the country. The central government does not necessarily provide the insurance itself, but may subsidize the purchase of insurance from private insurance companies.
The ideological, political, and economic confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union following World War II.
A U.S. diplomatic policy adopted by the Truman administration to contain Communist power within its existing boundaries.
The process by which states carry on political relations with each other; settling conflicts among nations by peaceful means.
A French word meaning a relaxation of tensions. The term characterized U.S.-Soviet relations as they developed under President Richard Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
The government agencies that gather information about the capabilities and intentions of foreign governments or that engage in convert actions.
Isolationist Foreign Policy
A policy of abstaining from an active role in international affairs or alliances, which characterized U.S. foreign policy toward Europe during most of the 1800s.
A policy statement made by President James Monroe in 1823, which set out three principles: (1) European nations should not establish new colonies in the Western Hemisphere, (2) European nations should not intervene in the affairs of independent nations of the Western Hemisphere, and (3) the United States would not interfere in the affairs of European nations.
A philosophy that sees nations as normally willing to cooperate and to agree on moral standards for conduct.
National Security Policy
Foreign and domestic policy designed to protect the nation's independence and political and economic integrity; policy that is concerned with the safety and defense of the nation.
Citizens who openly oppose the government's policies.
Example: State Department
Normal Trade Relations (NTR) Status
A status granted through an international treaty by which each member nation must treat other members at least as well as it treats the country that receives its most favorable treatment. This status was formerly known as most-favored-nation status. Example: China has permanent status
The Soviet Union and the Eastern European countries that installed Communist regimes after World War II and were dominated by the Soviet Union.
Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT I)
A treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union to stabilize the nuclear arms competition between the two countries. SALT I talks began in 1969, and agreements were signed on May 26, 1972.
The practice of sending experts in such areas as agriculture, engineering, or business to aid other nations.
The policy adopted by President Harry Truman in 1947 to halt Communist expansion in southeastern Europe
A legal system in which parties to a legal action are opponents and are responsible for bringing the facts and law related to their case before the court.
The authority vested in an appellate court to review and revise the judicial actions of inferior courts.
burden of proof
In a court case, a party's duty to convince a judge or jury that the party's version of the facts is true. The standard of proof is higher in a criminal case than in a civil one.
The law regulating conduct between private persons over noncriminal matters. Under civil law, the government provides the forum for the settlement of disputes between private parties in such matters as contracts, domestic relations, and business relations.
In Texas, county courts in addition to the constitutional county court. They are established by the legislature in all but the smallest Texas counties and may have criminal or civil jurisdiction. They form a level of courts superior to justice of the peace and municipal courts but inferior to district courts. County Judge In Texas, an official elected countywide to preside over the commissioners court and to try certain minor cases.
A procedure that allows a judge to postpone final sentencing in a criminal case; charges are dismissed if the defendant completes a satisfactory probationary period.
Established rules and principles for the administration of justice designed to safeguard the rights of the individual. The right to due process of law is provided by the U.S. Constitution and most state constitutions.
A relatively uncommon procedure that may be requested by felony defendants in Texas. In an examining trial, a justice of the peace reviews the facts and decides whether the case should go to criminal court.
FBI index crimes
A set of crimes reported by the FBI and commonly used as a way of measuring the overall crime rate. The index crimes are murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, theft, and motor vehicle theft.
A crime such as arson, murder, rape, or robbery that carries the most severe sanctions, usually ranging from one year in prison to death.
A jury that sits in pretrial proceedings to determine if sufficient evidence exists to try an individual and, therefore, approve an indictment.
A trial judged to be invalid because of fundamental error. When a mistrial is declared, the trial must start again, beginning with the selection of the jury.
The authority of a court to consider a case in the first instance; the power to try a case, as opposed to appellate jurisdiction, which involves the power to review cases decided by other courts.
Negotiations that take place between the prosecution and the defense in a criminal case in which the defendant normally is offered a lighter sentence or other benefits in return for a guilty plea.
A sentencing alternative to imprisonment in which the court releases convicted defendants under supervision as long as certain conditions are observed.
punitive damage award
A financial payment that may be awarded to a plaintiff in a civil case to punish the defendant and deter similar conduct in the future.
In civil law, a tort is a wrong or injury (other than a breach of contract). Tort reform is an effort to limit liability in tort cases.
A crime in which there does not appear to be a victim; a consensual crime. (Alternatively, the person breaking the law may be considered the primary victim.) Examples often cited include prostitution, gambling, and illegal drug possession.
writ of information
In criminal law, a formal accusation filed by a prosecutor against a party charged with a crime. It is an alternative to an indictment and does not involve a grand jury.
The settlement of disputes between private parties in matters such as contracts and domestic disputes is called
The requirement of a prosecutor to convince a jury or judge that the defendant is guilty of a crime is called the
burden of proof.
A pretrial examination of some evidence to determine whether or not a case should go to trial is normally conducted by a
The best efforts of attorneys to influence a jury by presenting evidence and testimony is known as
the adversarial system.
Which court first receives automatic appeals in Texas death penalty cases?
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
an economic system marked by the private ownership of wealth-creating assets, free markets, and freedom of contract.
What are some weakness' of the Articles of Confederation?
Congress lacked the power to collect taxes directly from the people.
Each state had one vote regardless of size.
Congress lacked the power to coin money.
There was no executive branch.
Which powers belong only to the national government?
International treaties, setting up the postal service, and printing money
The incorporation theory
holds the view that most of the protections of the Bill of Rights apply to state and local governments' activities through the 14th Amendment.
The answers given by respondents to poll questions are influenced by all of the following
the possible range of answers to the questions presented.
a yes/no format that restricts the respondents' choices.
the order in which questions are asked.
poorly designed questions that tip respondents in a particular direction.
All of the following are techniques used by interest groups to involve the general public
getting people to boycott a business .
attempting to mobilize large numbers of constituents to write, phone, or send emails to their legislators
using demonstrations, rallies and marches.
commissioning polls and publicizing the results for the public to see.
During the last half-century, the Democrats have been known as the party of
well-educated, professional individuals..
The number of members each state will have in the electoral college
is determined by adding the number of representatives and the number of senators a state has in Congress.
The president, in the capacity as head of state, is responsible for
engaging in activities that are largely symbolic or ceremonial in nature.
What are the four major types of structures within the executive branch?
Independent executive agencies
Independent regulatory agencies
A previous court decision which influences and is the basis for deciding later, similar cases is called
What are four problems with health care in the United States?
In 2008, more than 45 million Americans did not have health insurance.
Those uninsured pay higher fees than those covered by health insurance.
Average insurance benefits in 2009 cost more than $20,000 per year for each employee covered by employer health insurance.
For people with pre-existing conditions it has been nearly impossible to obtain health insurance at any price.
The doctrine of containment set forth by George F. Kennan
was expressed in the Truman Doctrine enunciated by President Harry Truman in 1947 and said that the United States should seek to contain Communist power within existing boundaries.
The first Republican since Reconstruction to win Texas' presidential electoral votes was
What is in the current Texas constitution?
separation of powers.
checks and balances.
Which factor has contributed least to the influence of lobbyists over Texas legislators?
Strong public participation
The greatest problem that the Republican Party in Texas had to overcome was the
legacy of radical reconstruction.
Special elections in Texas are held for all of the following purposes,
conducting a run-off election.
filling a state legislative vacancy.
ratifying an amendment to the state constitution.
Which court first receives automatic appeals in Texas death penalty cases?
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
The procedure of having a justice of the peace review facts to decide if a criminal trial should be held is called
an examining trial
Negotiations in which a defendant is offered a lighter sentence in exchange for a guilty pleas is known as
Courts with the authority to review and revise the actions of lower courts have
About what percentage of judges in district courts, county courts-at-law, and probate courts first assume office through appointment to fill a vacancy?
Financial awards in civil cases to deter similar behavior in the future are known as
An additional county court created by the legislature with either criminal or civil jurisdiction is called a
What are true of the attacks of 9/11?
Americans were forced to change their views of national security
Americans still knew that regional conflicts in other parts of the world had no direct impact on the United States
What are true statements of the Second Gulf War?
Coalition forces put an immediate halt to looting and disorder in the country
The war began when the United States invaded Iraq in 2003
Establishing order and creating a new government in Iraq turned out to be extraordinarily difficult for the United States
President Bush decided to take unilateral action against Iraq
What is true in regard to Afghanistan?
Attacks by the US targeted both al Queda camps and the Taliban regime which had ruled most of Afghanistan since 1996
What are true statements of China and the United States?
there are large and growing trade ties between the US and China
China exports substantially more goods and services to the United States than it imports
instead of goods and services China has imported US bonds
Since 1972, American policy has hoped to gradually engage the Chinese in diplomatic and economic relationships to move China in a pro-Western direction
The internationally recognized solution to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute is that
Israel yields the West Bank and Gaza Strip to the Palestinians in return for security guarantees and Palestinian abandonment of any right of return to Israel proper
One of the major outcomes of the Vietnam War was
a new interest in the balance of power between Congress and the president on foreign policy questions
True statements about the war in Vietnam
the war provoked extremely heated debate within the US society
at the height of the war Americans forces were about 500,000
a large scale American troop commitment began under President Lyndon B Johnson
the war ended in 1975 with a North Vietnamese victory
During the Cold War there was
no direct military conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union
Political realism is a philosophy that
sees each nation as acting in its own interest regardless of moral considerations
In January 2006, ____ won a majority of the seats in the Palestinian legislature, an alarming development since it has called for the destruction of Israel.
the militant group Hamas
During the 1800's, the United States generally
stayed out of European conflicts and politics but pursued an expansionist policy in this hemisphere
In 2003, President George W Bush enunciated a new foreign policy doctrine, the Bush Doctrine, which held, in part, that
the United States was prepared to wage preemptive war against perceived threats with or without allies
When President George W Bush was willing to work with India and Pakistan, both of which had been sharply criticized by the United States in recent years, in order to gain their cooperation in the war in Afghanistan, he drew on tradition
of political realism
pulled back on its treaty obligations and in 2009 tested a long-range missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead
US foreign policy
in the twentieth century has maintained the goal of staying out of involvement with other nations
When President George W Bush declared Osama bin Laden was evil and that fighting terrorism was fighting evil, he drew on the tradition of
The government agencies that are involved in gathering information about the capabilities and intentions of foreign governments are collectively known as
the intelligence community
A major determinant of US foreign policy in the formative years was
that the US had a very weak military
Since World War II, executive agreements have
accounted for almost 95% of the understanding reached between the United States and other nations
One of the problems for the State Department domestically is that
it has only "negative constituents"-citizens who oppose the government's policies
dismissed General McCrystal when he made highly critical remarks about VP Biden and other people in the Obama administration on Afghanistan policies
All of the following are true of domestic policy
redistributive policy transfers income from certain individuals or groups to others.
Social Security is an example of domestic policy.
Regulatory policy seeks to define what is and is not legal.
Domestic policy ranges from speed limits on interstate highways, how best to protect our environment, to what should be done about unemployment.
All of the following statements about the Medicare system are true
it pays for hospital and physicians' bills for almost all U.S. residents over sixty-five years of age.
It is funded by a special tax on wages and salaries.
Because of caps on reimbursements, some health care providers have refused to participate in the program.
It helps pay for prescription drugs for those over sixty-five.
is regarded by some as a plus for the United States because it offsets the low birthrate and aging population.
will result in jobs that pay lower wages for Americans with few skills, some argue.
helps expand the workforce and the taxes paid help to support government programs that benefit older Americans.
at current rates will create a United States where the "white majority" no longer dominates American politics.
True statements about crime and prisons
Many Americans believe that the best solution to the nation's crime problem is to impose stiff prison sentences on offenders.
The United States has more of people in jail or prison than any other country in the world.
More than one male out of every 100 is in jail or prison in the United States.
The number of incarcerated persons has grown rapidly in recent years.
Monetary policy includes
using changes in the rate at which new money is put into circulation to alter national economic variables.
During the last few decades
the top 1 percent of income earners made almost 19 percent of the nation's income.
Sources of American law include all of the following
statutes passed by legislatures.
the U.S. Constitution and state constitutions.
The levels of the federal court system are
federal district court, intermediate courts of appeal, Supreme Court.
Federal courts have jurisdiction
when there is a federal question in the case.
when there is diversity of citizenship in the case.
In the appeals court,
decisions from the district court are reviewed for points of law, error, or interpretation.
may be impeached and removed from office.
are approved by the Senate.
are appointed by the president.
serve lifetime terms.
Appointments to the Supreme Court by President Obama
were Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic member, and Elena Kagan
Appointments to the federal court of appeals
are far less numerous than federal district appointments
Alexis de Tocqueville, an observer of nineteenth-century American society, indicated that Americans rely on courts
to resolve political questions
standing to sue is
determined by whether or not a person or group has suffered harm as a result of the action that led to the dispute in question
public opinion can serve as a check on the judiciary because
the public may pressure elected officials not to enforce an unpopular ruling
the power of the courts to determine the constitutionality of a law or action is called
a dissenting opinion can be important because
it often forms the basis of the arguments used later to reverse the majority opinion in a similar case
the last step in the decision making process of the Supreme Court is
announcing its decision to the public and the reasons for it
interest groups play an important role in our judicial system because
they bring to trial cases of discrimination, civil liberties cases, and more than a third of cases involving business matters
According to the Constitution, the Supreme Court can exercise original jurisdiction
in cases affecting foreign diplomats and in cases in which the state is a party
the concept of senatorial courtesy refers to the
practice of allowing senators to veto candidates for federal district courts in their state
Universal health insurance
has been adopted by all economically advanced nations except the United States
can be defined as all the laws, government planning, and government action that concern internal issues of national importance
Incarceration does not
prevent many felons from committing additional crimes once they are out of prison
In the BP oil spill
an investigation revealed that the Minerals Management Service staff members in the Gulf allowed industry officials to complete their own inspection reports
With regard to the issue of oil and energy,
in recent years the United States government has done little to reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil
policy implementation is
concerned with how policies are carried out by bureaucrats, the courts, police, and individual citizens
the part of policymaking process that involves choosing a specific policy from among the proposals that have been discussed is known as
the responsibility of the Federal Open Market Committee is to
implement the monetary policy of the Federal Reserve
In comparing the total amount of taxes collected as a percentage of gross domestic product
the United State's rate is around twenty-eight to thirty percent
The population group with the highest incarceration rate is
non-Hispanic African American men, ages 30-34
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