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Stuart vs Laird (1803)

Court case that decided congress does have power to change structure of judicial court but not to get rid of it or its powers.

Marbury vs Madison (1803)

Court case that created Judicial Review. This states that the Supreme Court can declare federal laws unconstitutional

McCulloch vs. Maryland (1819)

Court case that decided the Federal Government may establish a national bank without being taxed because it has the right to distribute and disperse money

Dredd Scott vs. Sanford (1857)

Court case that decided that a runaway slave was property and therefore was not entitled to pursuit of life, liberty, and property.

civil law

laws that if broken do not lead to prison, but lead to payments; they are presented by an individual group or person.

criminal law

laws that if broken lead to prison or fines to the government, they are presented by the government which serves as the prosecution.

class action

a lawsuit that is brought to court by a large group of people or a corporation, or when a class of defendants is being prosecuted.

US District Court

first court in the US court system where evidence is presented, witnesses testify, and original jurisdiction takes place.

US Court of Appeals

second court in the US court system where cases from the district courts can appeal and the appellate court has jurisdiction.

US Supreme Court

third and highest court in the US court system where a writ of certiorari is needed, and 4 votes needed to hear case.

Attorney General

The head of the US Department of Justice who is concerned with legal affairs, considered the chief lawyer of the United States government

Solicitor General

the person chosen to represent the Federal Government before the US Supreme Court

US Attorneys

the people who represent all of the US Courts

original jurisdiction

court where there is trial

appellate jurisdiction

where you hear appeals from trials


each party to a case

amicus brief

not parties to case but groups/individuals interested in outcome

oral arguments

each side gets 30 minutes of this in a court case

majority opinion

all justices agree in both decision and reason

plurality opinion

all justices agree in decision but not reason

concurring opinion

justices agree somewhat in opinion and somewhat in reason

dissenting opinion

justices don't agree in either sense

senatorial courtesy

an unspoken agreement/courtesy where the president speaks with the senior US senator of his political party before appointing a justice

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