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Chapter 14 Vocab

AP Government - Chapter 14 Vocabulary

Chapter 14 TermsDefinitions
Judicial Review The power of the courts to declare acts of the legislature and of the executive to be unconstitutional and hence null and void.
Strict-Constructionist approach The view that judges should decide on cases on the basis of the language of the constitution.
Activist approach The view that judges should discern the general principles underlying the constitution and its often vague language and assess how best to apply them in contemporary circumstances, in some cases with the guidance of moral or economic philosophy.
Constitutional Court A federal court exercising the judicial powers found in Article III of the Constitution and whose judges are given constitutional protection.
District Courts The lowerst federal courts where federal cases begin. They are the only federal courts where trials are held. There are 94 in the entire US and its territories.
Courts of Appeals The federal courts with authority to review decisions by federal districts courts, regulatory commissions and certain other federal courts. SUch courts have no original jurisdiction, the can only hear appeals. There are only 12
Legislative court A court that is created by Congress for some specialized pupose and staffed with judges who do not enjoy the protection of Article III of the Constitution.
Litmus Test The term is used in politics to mean a test of ieological purity, a way of finding out whether a person is a dyed in the wool liberal or conservative, or what his or her views are on a controversial question.
Federal question cases Cases concerning the constitution, federal law, or treaties over which the federal courts have jurisdiction as described in the Constitution.
Diversity Cases Cases involving citizens of different states over which the federal courts have jurisdiction as described by the constituion.
Civil Law The body of rules defining relationships among private citizens. IT consists of both statutes and accumulated customary law embodied in judicial decisions. (The "Common Law")
Criminal Law The body of rules defining offenses that, though they harm an individual, are considered to be offenses against society as a whole and as a consequence warrant punishment by and in the name of society.
Writ of certiorari A latin term meaning "made more certain". An order issued by a higher court to a lower court to send up the record of a case for review. Most cases reach the Supreme Court through the writ of certiorari. (4 out of 9 Justices)
In Forma Pauperis A procedure whereby a poor person can file and be heard in court as a pauper, free or charge.
Fee Shifting A law or rule that allows the plaintiff (the party that initiates the lawsuit) to collect its legal costs from the defendant if the defendant loses.
Plaintiff The party that initiates a lawsuit to obtain a remedy for an injury to his or her rights.
Standing A legal concept establishing who is entitled to bring a lawsuit to court. For example, an individual must ordinarily show personal harm in order to acquire standing and be heard in court.
Sovereign immunity A doctrine that a citizen cannot sue the government without its consent. By statute, congress has given its consent for the government to be sued in many cases involving a dispute over a contract or damage done as a result of negligence.
Class action Suit A case brought into court by a person on behalf of not only himself or herself, but all other persons in the country under similar circumstances.
Brief A legal document prepared by an attorney representing a party before a court. The document sets forth the facts of the case, summarizes the law, gives the arguments for its side, and discusses other relevant cases.
Amicus Curiae A latin term meaning "A friend of the court". Refers to interested groups or individuals, not directly involved in a suit, who may file legal briefs or make oral arguments in support of one side.
Per Curiam Opinion A brief, unsigned opinion issued by the Supreme Court to explain its ruling.
Opinion of the COurt A supreme Court opinion written by one or more justices in the majority to explain the decision in a case.
Dissenting opinion A supreme court opinion by one or more justices in the minority to explain the minority's dissagreement with the court's ruling.
Concurring opinion A supreme court opinion by one or more justices who agree with the majority's conclusion but for different reasions.
Stare Decisis A latin term meaning "let the decision stand". The practice of basing judicial decisions on precedents established in similar cases decided in the past.
Political question An issue that the Supreme Court refuses to consider because it believes the Constution has left it entirely to another branch to decide. Its view of such issues may change over time.
Remedy A judicial order preventing or redressing a wrong or enforcing a right.
Created by: monkeykist on 2005-03-28



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