Glossary of American Government - Policy and Politics Ch.12
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- Judicial Review
- The power of the courts to declare unconstitutional the actions of the other branches and units of government.
- Strict Construction
- The doctrine of constitutional interpritation holding that the document should be interpreted narrowly.
- Loose Construction
- The doctrine of constitutional interpretation holding that the document should be interpreted broadly.
- States' Rights
- An interpretation of the Constitution that favors limiting the authority of the federal government while expanding the powers of the states.
- New Deal
- A legislative package of reform measures proposed by President Franklin Roosevelt.
- Jim Crow Laws
- Legal provisions requiring the social segregation of African Americans in seperate and generally unequal facilities.
- Civil Liberties
- The protection of the individual from the unrestricted power of government.
- Civil Rights
- The protection of the individual from arbitrary or discriminatory acts by government or by individuals based on that persons group status, such as race and gender.
- Exclusionary Rule
- The judicial doctrine stating that when the police violate an individuals constitutional rights, the evidence obtained as a result of police misconduct or error cannot be used against the defendant.
- Sovereign Immunity
- The legal concept that individuals cannot sue the government without the governments permission.
- Equal Protection Clause
- The provision found in the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution that declares that "No State shall... deny to any person within it's jurisdiction the equal protection of laws."
- The formal examination of a judicial dispute in accordance with law before a single judge.
- The taking of a case from a lower court to a higher court by the losing party in a lower court decision.
- The authority of the court to hear and decide a case.
- Civil Case
- A legal dispute concerning a private conflict between two parties - individuals, corporations, or government agencies.
- Criminal Case
- A legal dispute dealing with an alleged violation of penal law.
- Writ of Habeas Corpus
- A court order requiring government authorities to either release a person in custody or demonstrate that the person is detained in accordance with the law.
- Senatorial Courtesy
- The custom that senators from the president's party have a veto on judicial appointments from their states.
- Legal Brief
- A written legal argument.
- To uphold a lower court decision.
- To return a case to the trial court for reconsideration in light of an appeals court decision.
- Original Jurisdiction
- The level of jurisdiction, or set of cases, a court may hear as a trial court.
- Test Cases
- Lawsuits initiated to asses the constitutionality of a legislative or executive act.
- In Forma Pauperis
- A process whereby an indigent litigant can appeal a case to the Supreme Court without paying the usual fees.
- A closed meeting of the justices of the United States Supreme Court.
- Rule of Four
- A decision process used by the Supreme Court to determine which cases to consider on appeal, holding that the Court will hear a case if four of the nine justices agree to the review.
- The technical term for the Supreme Court's decision to hear the arguments and make a ruling in a case.
- Per Curiam Opinion
- An unsigned opinion of the Supreme Court.
- Amicus Curiae
Friend of the Court Briefs
- Written legal arguments presented by parties not directly involved in the case, including interest groups and units of government.
- Majority Opinion
- The official written statement of the Supreme Court that explains and justifies its ruling and serves as a guideline for lower courts when similar legal issues arise in the future.
- Concurring Opinion
- A judicial statement that agrees with the Court's ruling but disagrees with the reasoning of the majority opinion.
- Dissenting Opinion
- A judicial statement that disagrees with the decision of the court's majority.
- Statutory Law
- Law that is written by the legislature.
- Constitutional Law
- Law that involves the interpretation and application of the Constitution.
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- A federal law designed to end discrimination against persons with disabilities and eliminate barriers to their full participation in American society.
- Item Veto
- The power of an executive to veto sections or items of a tax or appropriation measure while signing the remainder of the bill into law.
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