A body of enforceable rules governing relationships among individuals and between individuals and their society.
A statement that establishes the law on a particular issue, such as a constitution, a statue, an administrative rule, or a court decision.
Primary Source of Law
A ]publication that summarizes or interprets the law, such as a legal encyclopedia, a legal treatise, or an article in a law review.
Secondary Source of Law
The body of law derived from the U.S. Constitution and the constitutions of the various states.
The body of law enacted by legislative bodies (as opposed to constitutional law, administrative law, or case law).
A reference to a publication in which a legal authority - such as a statute or a court decision - or other source can be found.
A regulation enacted by a city or county legislative body that becomes part of that state's statutory law.
A model law developed by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws for the states to consider enacting into statute.
The body of law created by administrative agencies in order to carry out their duties and responsibilities.
A federal, state, or local government agency created by the legislature to perform a specific function, such as to make and enforce rules pertaining to the environment.
A statute enacted by Congress that authorizes the creation of an administrative agency and specifies the name, composition, purpose, and powers of the agency being created.
To render a judicial decision. Is the trial-like proceeding in which an administrative law judge hears and resolves disputes involving an administrative agency's regulations.
The process used by administrative agencies in administering the law.
The process by which an administrative agency formally adopts a new regulation or amends an old one.
An administrative agency's rule that carries the same weight as a congressionally enacted statute.
A nonbinding rule or policy statement issued by an administrative agency that explains how it interprets and intends to apply the statutes it enforces.
One who presides over an administrative agency hearing and has the power to administer oaths, take testimony, rule on questions of evidence, and make determinations of fact.
Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
The rules of law announced in court decisions. It interprets statutes, regulations, constitutional provisions, and other case law.
The body of law developed from custom or judicial decisions in English and U.S. courts, not attributable to a legislature.
A court decision that furnishes an example or authority for deciding subsequent cases involving identical or similar facts.
A common law doctrine under which judges are obligated to follow the precedents established in prior decisions.
Any source of law that a court must follow when deciding a case.
any legal authority or source of law that a court may look to for guidance but need not follow when making its decisions.
The relief given to an innocent party to enforce a right or compensate for the violation of a right.
One who initiates a lawsuit
One against whom a lawsuit is brought, or the accused person in a criminal proceeding.
Law that defines, describes, regulates, and creates legal rights and obligations.
Law that establishes the methods of enforcing the rights established by substantive law.
An informal term used to refer to all laws governing electronic communications and transactions, particularly those conducted via the Internet.
The branch of law dealing with the definition and enforcement of all private or public rights, as opposed to criminal matters.
A system of law derived from Roman law that is based on codified laws (rather than on case precedent)
Civil Law System
The branch of law that defines and punishes wrongful actions committed against the public.
Law that pertains to a particular nation (as opposed to international law).
The law that governs relations among nations.
A system of government in which the states form a union and the sovereign power is divided between the central government and the member states.
Federal Form of Government
The principle under which the powers of the national government are divided among three separate branches - the executive, legislative, and judicial branches - each of which exercises a check on the actions of the others.
Checks and Balances
The provision in Article 1, Section 8, of the U.S. Constitution that gives Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce.
Powers possessed by the states to protect or promote the public order, health, safety, morals, and general welfare.
The requirement in Article VI of the U.S. Constitution that provides that the Constitution, laws, and treaties of the United States are "the supreme law of the land."
A doctrine under which certain federal laws preempt, or take precedence over, conflicting state or local laws.
The first ten amendments to the U.S Constitution.
Bill of Rights
Nonverbal expressions of belief. Symbolic speech, which includes gestures, movements, and articles of clothing, is given substantial protection by the courts.
A test of constitutionality that requires the government to have convincing reasons for passing any law that restricts fundamental rights, such as free speech, or distinguishes between people based on a suspect trait.
Compelling Government Interest
A computer program that is designed to block access to certain Web sites, based on their content. The software blocks the retrieval of a site whose URL or key words are on a list within the program.
A key word in a document that can serve as an index reference to the document. On the Web, search engines return results based, in part, on the tags in Web documents.
The provision in the First Amendment that prohibits the government from establishing any state-sponsored religion or enacting any law that promotes religion or favors one religion over another.
The provision in the First Amendment that prohibits the government from interfering with people's religious practices or forms of worship.
Free Exercise Clause
The provisions in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments that guarantee that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. State constitutions often include similar clauses.
Due Process Clause
The provision in the Fourteenth Amendment that requires state governments to treat similarly situated individuals in a similar manner.
Equal Protection Clause
A court opinion that represents he views of the majority (more than half) of the judges or justices deciding the case.
A court opinion by one or more judges or justices who agree with the majority but want to make or emphasize a point that was not made or emphasized in the majority's opinion.
A court opinion the presents the views of one or more judges or justices who disagree with the majority's decision.
A court opinion that is supported by the largest number of the judges or justices hearing the case, but less than half of the total number.
A court opinion that does not indicate which judge or justice authored the opinion.