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judicial activism

philosophy that judges should interpret the Constitution to reflect current conditions and values

judicial restraint

view that the courts should reject any active lawmaking functions and stick to judicial interpretations of the past

judicial review

the power of the Supreme Court to declare laws and actions of local, state, or national governments unconstitutional

writ of certiorari

an order from the court to a lower court to send up the records on a case for review

writ of habeas corpus

a writ ordering a prisoner to be brought before a judge

stare decisis

"let the decision stand"; the judges use past cases in order to determine the outcome of a present case

senatorial courtesy

President nominates a senator, and privately talks with the standing senator from their state before sending the nominee to the Seante

justiciable disputes

a requirement that to be heard a case must be capable of being settled as a matter of law rather than on other grounds as is commonly the case in legislative bodies

class action suits

Lawsuits permitting a small number of people to sue on behalf of all other people similarly situated.

amicus curiae

"friend of the court"-- briefs, they come from individuals, interest groups, or government agencies claiming to have information useful to the Court's consideration of the case


The party who appeals a district court's decision, usually seeking reversal of that decision.

appellate court

court that reviews trial court procedures to determine whether they have complied with accepted rules and constitutional doctrines.

appellate jurisdiction

The authority of a court to review decisions made by lower courts


to state boldy in the place of a swearing; not swearing on the Bible


A summary of the case as well as a description of the sides of the case

civil code

a code that recognized the principles of equality

civil law

laws of a state or nation; "private" matters

common law

laws made by lower, state-level courts

concurring opinion

"Opinion of the Court"; a unanimous decision made by the Supreme Court

confirmation hearing

held by the Senate to reject or confim a Presidential nominee


decision for a case that is a guide for similiar cases


Supreme Court gives a case back to the lower courts where it was appealed with instructions


decision of an appellate court to return the case to a lower courts to fix an error

rule of Four

a rule that if 4 senators vote to hear a case, it can be presented before the Supreme Court

substantive due process

fair treatment under law

standing to sue

requirement that plaintiffs need to have a serious interest in the case, which depends on if they will sustain an injury from it

district courts

91 federal courts with original jurisdiction


reasoning behind judicial decision

court of appeal

appellate courts to review final decision of district courts; 12 federal

judicial implementation

how or whether judicial decision become policies

solicitor general

president appointed 3rd in Justice; execute branch; appear for US against other coutries


A party to a lawsuit.

Marbury v. Madison

U.S. Supreme Court case that established the principle of judicial review

Fletcher v. Peck

Supreme Court case; first case where the Supreme Court overruled a state law because of it's Constitutionality

McCulloch v. Maryland

Supreme Court ruled that states can't tax national agencies

Gibbons v. Ogden

Supreme Court has power to control interstate commerce

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