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Civics Vocab Terms


Plaintiff Person who brings the complaint against another person.
Defendant Person who must defend against a complaint.
Prosecution Government body that brings criminal charges against an individual.
Precedent Guidelines that come from previous, similar cases.
Original jurisdiction The court that has the authority to hear a case first.
Appellate jurisdiction The authority to hear an appeal.
Judicial restraint The concept of when the judges don't inject their opinion in the cases they conduct.
Judicial activism A rule put by a judge that looks over precedents in to protect individual rights or serving a broader political agenda.
Appeal The right to ask a higher court to review a decision to be sure justice was done.
Circuit courts A court that sits at two or more places within one judicial district.
Courts of Appeal Responsible for hearing and reviewing appeals from legal cases that have already been heard in a trial-level or other lower court.
Opinion Written statement explaining the reasons for the decision. (Majority opinion, Dissenting opinion)
Judicial review The power to overturn any law that violates the constitution. (See Marbury v. Madison)
Constituents People represented by elected officials
Bill A proposed law.
Interest Groups Groups of people working together for similar goals.
Lobbyists People who represent interest groups.
Congressional District The area that a member o the House represents. (Average is about 700,000 people)
Ex Post Facto Laws A law that makes a particular act a crime, and then punishes people who committed the act before it was a crime.
Heritage Traditions passed down from generation to generation.
Legislature Group of people chosen to make the laws.
Charter Document that gives permission to form a government.
Tyranny Abuse of power.
Ancient Greece Creators of 'Direct Democracy'.
Ancient Rome Creators of 'Republic Democracy'.
Magna Carta Document that provided protection against Tyranny.
Common Sense A pamphlet written in 1776 by Thomas Paine for the Declaration of independence.
Charles Montesquieu French philosopher and writer who inspired the colonists and the branches in the Declaration of independance.
John Locke English philosopher and writer who inspired the colonist in the Declaration of indenpendence.
Cato's Letter Freedom of expression .
Executive Branch The Branch of government responsible for executing, or carrying out, the law.
Foreign Policy Plans that guide our relations with other nations.
Executive agreements Agreements with other countries that do not need senate approval.
Republic Citizens elect representatives to make laws.
Direct Democracy Citizens have one vote to make the laws.
Autonomous A country having freedom to govern themselves.
Domistic Policy Plans for dealing with national problems.
Treaties Formal agreements between nations.
Cabinets Includes heads of each government departments are policy advisors to the president.
Civil Service Non-elected government workers and permanent employees the live on merit.
Created by: MadCrazy
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