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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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