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Vocabulary for those life serving men and women!

amicus curiae

An adviser to the court on some matter of law who is not a party to the case

appellate courts

Courts that hear cases on appeal from other courses

Rule of Four

At least four Justices of the Supreme Court must vote to consider a case before it can be heard

strict constructionist

Interprets Constitution in a way that allows the federal government to take only those actions that the Constitution says it can

original jurisdiction

The authority of a court to hear a case "in the first instance."

judicial review

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


A law established by following earlier judicial decisions

judicial activism

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

solicitor general

Justice Department officer who argues the government's cases before the Supreme Court

Judiciary Act of 1789

Law that set up the national court system

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