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104 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
What is the definition of law?
The rules of conduct established and enforced by authority in a society.
Attitudes toward legal systems range from what to what?
Anarchism to authoritarianism.
What are the six sources of law discussed by the text?
What are the differences between common law and case law?
Common laws (judge-made law) are the court decisions that create precedent. Case laws are the applied precedent.
What is the relationship between community stability and legal stability?
For a community to be stable, law should be stable as well.
What is stare decisis?
Legal decisions established should not easily change.
What is precedent?
Legal authority that must be followed, absent a sound legal basis for variance; previous cases on the same point of law.
Which courts must follow precedent?
Courts within that court's same jurisdiction.
What is an opinion?
Written rationales for judicial decision.
What are reporters and how are they organized?
Volumes of cases, precedent. They are organized according to jurisdiction.
In what areas of communications law does common law play a central role?
Most prominantly in libel and invasion of privacy.
What are extraordinary writs and what is their most common form?
They are equity actions by courts, most commonly seen as temporary or permanent injunctions or restraining orders (order to do or Not to do).
What example does the text use for the law of equity at work in a communications case?
The Pentagon Papers.
What is statutory law?
Legislation made through elected representatives.
By what process do ideas become laws?
Examine, research
Recommend or NOT
Total vote
Satutory law must be consistent with what?
The constitution.
To whom do state statutes apply?
People in that state.
Sate and federal regulation is key to understanding which areas of communications law?
Obscenity, electronic media, intellectual property, marketing and journalistic privilage.
What is established by the Constitution in Articles I, II and III?
Congress power to: tax, mint money, declare war, and regulate interstate commerce
Presidency power to: lead military, establish foreign policy and appoint government officials
Judiciary power to: hear cases involving federal and international matters, disputes between states and disputes between citizens of different states
Can the US Supreme court declare statutory law inconsistent with constitutional law?
"The Court explains what the constitution means, thus producing"...what?
Consitutional law.
How can the consitution be amended?
Calling a new consitutional convention, vote of 2/3 congress and 3/4 state legislatures.
How does consitutional law affect communications law?
Virtually all are under its umbrella, most importantly things from the first amendment: free speech, free press, assembly and petition.
What are federal administrative agencies?
Agencies created to regulate specific aspects of commerce.
How do people become commissionaers of federal administrative agencies?
They are appointed by the president. They qualify by being "apolitical" experts in the field they regulate.
How many FCC commissioners are there? How many can be from the same party?
There are five; maximum of three can be from the same party.
What does it mean that administrative agencies have "quasi-legislative, quasi-executive and quasi-judicial powers?"
They can pass their own laws, execute those laws and adjucicate disputes over enforcement.
What is administrative law?
The sum of the rules, regulations, decisions and other policy making of the agencies.
How is federal administrative law affected by congress, the president and the courts?
Congress empowers the agency through statutes, the president makes appointments and administrative laws can be appealed to the courts.
How does administrative law affect communications law?
FCC: electronic media
FTC: advertising
SEC: communications by publicly held companies
Why do we need international communications laws?
To control the amount and kind of communication between nations and the protection of freedom of expression.
What is judicial review?
The ability to deem laws unconstitutional
The courts are protectors of what?
Individual rights and liberties.
Why is the power of courts sometimes called "the judicial myth?"
Courts actually have few resources to require obedience to their decision.
What is "a court's opinion?"
An explanation of the rationale for the decision in a public document called the court's opinion.
What is jurisdiction? How is it determined?
The power to hear and rule in a case. It is determined by either subject matter or geography.
What is original jurisdiction?
Original ruling.
What is appellate jurisdiction?
Appellate judges review the rule of the lower court.
Which courts review the application of the law?
Appeals courts.
Which courts find and apply facts?
Trial courts.
What is the tenure of federal judges?
How many US District Courts are there?
How is it decided how many US District Courts will be in each state?
At least one in each state, Puerto Rico and DC, and from there depending on population.
How many judges are in each district court?
Depends on the amount of work in the courts.
Circuit courts take appeals of decisions from where?
District courts and federal agencies.
When are the decisions of US Courts of Appeals final?
Except when the supreme court agrees to review the case
How many federal courts of appeals are there?
179 judgeships in 11 numbered multi-state circuits.
Each circuit has how many appeals courts? How many permanent judgeships?
One court, 6-20 permanent judgeships.
How many judges are normally assigned to a case?
What is a panel?
When there are just 3 justices assigned to review a case.
What does "en banc" mean?
When an entire court assembles to decide a case.
Who is a "circuit justice" for each circuit?
A supreme court justice chosen to be the supervising circuit justice for each circuit.
How many justices are on the supreme court?
When does the Supreme Court term open each year?
The first Monday in October.
About how many cases does the Supreme Court currently hear each year?
Less than 100
What is the official title of the federal judiciary's chief administrative officer?
Chief Justice of the United States.
Does the chief justice have any more voting power than the other justices?
How are sate court systems generally organized?
Generally like federal, with trial, intermediate apellate and courts of last resort.
Which court is the ultimate authority on each state's laws?
State Supreme Court
When can the US Supreme Court overrule a state supreme court?
Only when the 2 courts disagree.
What is the relationship between state constitutions and the federal constitution?
Federal prevails whenever violated by any other law, even a state constitution.
What is the difference between substantive and procedural law?
Procedural is the rules for how substantive law is created, administered and adjucated.
What is civil action and what is the standard of proof in a civil action?
Civil action is a dispute between private parties, and the proof is the preponderance of the evidence.
What is a criminal action and what is the standard of proof in a criminal action?
Criminal action is brought by a prosecutor against an individual for committing a crime designated in legislation and must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.
What are the differences between civil and criminal law and courts?
Civil: to correct civil wrongs ie breaches of contracts. it's a way for civilized people to settle disputes.
Criminal: punish criminal wrongs and protect the constitutional rights of suspects.
What is a tort?
A non-criminal wrong committed by one party against another.
What does a typical civil case seek?
Monetary damages to help plaintiff recover from various kinds of losses.
What does a plaintiff have to prove?
They have to prove that the defendant was at fault for causint the harm to the plaintiff and that the plaintiff suffered as a result.
How does an attorney decide which court to bring a case to?
Decide by what laws were violated (state, fed, etc.)
If the parties are in different states, where may the case be brouht? Which state's laws prevail?
The state where the case was brought.
Is state law at issue in a federal court?
Yes. The state law still prevails.
What is "forum shopping?"
The process of picking a court for an action.
What is a statute of limitations?
Statute of limitations is the deadline for initiating a suit, usually is a year.
Standing to sue?
Plaintiff must establish the right to bring the action.
What is voir dire?
The selection of the jury.
Bench trial?
Trial withouot a jury.
Are juries expected to explain their decisions?
Can a judge overrule a jury's decision?
Crimes are wrongs committed against what or whom?
What are felonies? Misdemeanors?
Felonies=serious crimes
misdemeanors=less serious
police find and preserve physical evidence and question witnesses and others with info relevant to the crime
When and indivudual related to a crime is taken into custody
court hearing at which the defendant is expected to enter a plea
the first legal argument filed by a plaintiff
grand jury endictment?
investigatory panel; a panel whose duty is to hear the state's evidence to determine there's enough evidence for trial
How many jurors are usually in a criminal trial?
Who is the appellant? Appellee?
Appellant = person bringing appeal
Appellee = court and its decision based on the application of the law
What actions can appeals courts take?
Affirm or reverse the lower court decision
What does it mean to remand?
Refer the case back to the lower court with directions on how to handle the legal issue that was appealed.
Second opportunities to appeal go to what courts?
Court of last resort, normally called supreme court
What is a petitioner? Respondent?
In court of last resort petitioner = party bringing the case, respondent = ones responding to case
What is mandatory jurisdiction? Discretionary?
Mandatory: the court is req'd by the constitution or legislation to take cases, either all or cases addressing certain matters. Discretionary they get to choose.
What does it mean that tue US Supreme Court justices are politically unaccountable to the public?
They're not elected.
What are the ways by which to obtain permission to have US Supreme Court review a lower court decision?
-in forma pauperis affidavit
-when laws are declared by a lower court unconstitutional = supreme court mandatory jurisdiction
What is a per curiam opinion?
a straightforward question.
What is an amici brief?
Friends of the court question, usually state, corporation, or political organization file these.
What is a concurring opinon?
Justice agrees with outcom but not rationale
What is a majority opinon?
At least five concur.
What is a plurality opinion?
Opinion of court that attracts more agreement than any other opinion written by the justices in the majority.
What are the different systems by which states choose justices?
-Nominating commission
-nonpartisan elections
-partisan elections
-appointed by chief executive
-elected by legislature
-judicial selection commission
How are federal judges appointed?
By President with advice and consent of the senate.
How can federal judges be removed?
Impeachment by house and conviction in the senate.
How does politics affect the appointment of federal judges?
Pres will consult with members of his party that preside in district court affected
What are activists and judicial restraintists?
activists believe courts have active role to play in political system, while restraintists believe they should play a modest role.