Government Vocab

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Government Vocab
2010-10-04 23:36:36


Chapter 16 Vocab
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  1. Activist Approach
    The view that jusdges should discern the general principles underlying laws or the Constitution and apply them to modern circumstances.
  2. Amicus curiae
    A brief submitted by a "friend of the court."
  3. Brief
    A written statement by an attourney that summarizes a case and the laws and rulings that support it.
  4. Class Action Suit
    A case brought by someone to help him and all others who are similarly situated.
  5. Concurring Opinion
    A signed opinion in which one or more justices agree with the majority's conclusion but for different reasons.
  6. Constitutional Court
    A federal court authorized by Article III of the Constitution that keeps judges in office during good behavior and prevents their salaries from being reduced. They are the Supreme Court (created by the Constitution) and appellate and district courts created by Congress.
  7. Court of Appeals
    Federal courts that hear appeals from district courts. No trials.
  8. Dissenting Opinion
    A signed opinion in which one or more of the justices disagree with the majority view.
  9. District Courts
    The lowest federal courts; federal trials can be held only here.
  10. Diversity Cases
    Cases involving citizens of different states who can bring suit in federal courts.
  11. Dual Sovereingty
    A doctrine holding that state and federal authorities can prosecute the same person for the same conduct, each authority prosecuting under its own law.
  12. Federal Question Cases
    Cases concerning the Constitution, federal laws, or treaties.
  13. Fee Shifting
    A rule that allows a plaintiff to recover costs from the defendant if the plaintiff wins.
  14. In forma pauperis
    A method whereby a poor person can have his or her case heard in federal court without charge.
  15. Judicial Review
    The power of courts to declare acts of the legislature and the executive unconstitutional.
  16. Legislative Court
    Courts created by Congress for specialized purposes whose judges do not enjoy the protections of Article III of the Constitution.
  17. Litmus Test
    An examination of the political ideology of a nominated judge.
  18. Opinion of the Court
    A signed opinion of a majority of the Supreme Court.
  19. Per Curiam Opinion
    A brief and unsigned court opinion.
  20. Plaintiff
    The party that initiates a lawsuit.
  21. Political Question
    An issue the Supreme Court will allow the executive and legislative branches to decide.
  22. Remedy
    A judicial order enforcing a right or redressing a wrong.
  23. Sovereign Immunity
    The rule that a citizen cannot sue the government without the government's consent.
  24. Standing
    A legal rule stating who is authorized to start a lawsuit.
  25. Stare decisis
    "Let the decision stand," or allowing prior rulings to control the current case.
  26. Strict Constructionist Approach
    The view that judges should decide cases strictly on the basis of the language of the laws and the Constitution.
  27. Writ of Certiorari
    An order by a higher court directing a lower court to sendup a case for review.