Glossary of Miller Government Ch. 20
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- common law
- body of law that originated in England in which individual judges decided cases according to prevail local customs. Similar decisions are applied to similar cases until a national standard is formed.
- case law
- A history of cases that when taken together form precedents for later judicial decisions.
- A court rule that sets a standard for subsequent legal decisions in similar cases.
- statutory law
- A law passed by a legislature
- civil law
- Laws that regulate disputes between private citizensover noncriminal matters, such as contractual agreements, domestic relations, and business practices.
- criminal law
- A body of laws that defines crimes and determines punishment for committing them. The government is the prosecutor in criminal cases since crimes are against the public order.
- trial courts
- A court of original jurisdiction that hears criminal and civil cases.
- appellate court
- A court that reviews the decisions of lower (usually trial) courts.
- judicial circuit
- One of the twelve courts that heard appeals from district courts located within their respective circuits.
- jury duty
- The responsibility of all citizens, if called, to serve on a jury for a criminal trial.
- hung jury
- A jury that can not agree on a verdict unanimously.
- The power of a court to try and decide certain cases.
- original jurisdiction
- The legal authority of a court to hear the first presentation of a case.
- appellate jurisdiction
- Authority of a court to review the decisions reached by a lower court
- federal question
- Arises whenever the cause of action of a plaintiff is based at least in part on the United States Constitution, a treaty, or a federal law. Federal questions can be addressed only by the federal judiciary
- diversity of citizenship
- A legal concept that applies to cases arising between citizens of two different states, or between a foreign country and citizens of a state or different states
- concurrent jurisdiction
- A sharing of legal authority between state and federal courts
- exclusive jurisdiction
- A courts authority to hear cases that fall outside the legal scope of other courts
- writ of certiorari
- A written order of a higher court to a lower court to send up the record of a case for review.
- oral arguments
- The verbal arguments presented by opposing counsel.
- The statement of a court or judge concerning the decision reached in a case. It expounds the law as applied to the case and details the reasons on which the judgement is based.
- unanimous opinion
- Agreement by all judges on the same court decision
- majority opinion
- The written statement of the views of the majority of judges in support of a decision made by the court on which they preside.
- concurring opinion
- A statement by a justice that agrees (concurs) with the court's decision, but for reasons different than the majority opinion.
- dissenting opinion
- A statement written by a justice in which he or she dissents from the conclussion reached by the majority of the court. The justice expounds his or her on views about the case.
- judicial review
- The power of the courts to determine the constitutionality of the actions of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government. First established in the case of marbury v. Madison (1803)
- judicial activism
- A doctrin that advocates an active role for the Supreme Court in enforcing the Constitution and in using judicial review. An activist court takes a broad view of the Constitution and invovles itself in legislative and executive matters.
- judicial restraint
- A doctrine that holds the supreme court should rarely use its power of judicial review or otherwise intervene in the political process.
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