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84 Cards in this Set

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  • Back
The division of powers between the federal governent and the state governments
Legislative Branch
The branch of the government with primary responsiblity for making or enacting the law
Executive Branch
The branch of government with primary responsibility for carrying out, excuting, or administering the law.
Judicial Branch
The branch of government with primary responsibility for interpreting laws by resolving disputes that arise under them.
Public Policy
Principles inherent in customs and societal values that are embodied in a law.
A court's written explination of how it applied the law to the facts before it to resolve a legal dispute. Also called a case. (The word Case has two other meanings, a pending matter on a court calendar and a client matter handled by a law office)
A law passed by the state or federal legislature that declares, commands, or prohibits something. Also called an Act or Legislation. (statute, act and legislation are sometimes used in a broader sense to include laws passed by any legislature, which would include ordinances passed by a a city council)
The fundamental law that creates the branch of government, allocates power among them, and defines some basic rights of individuals.
Administrative regulation
A law written by an administrataive agency designed to explain or carry out the statutes, executive orders, or other regulations that govern the agency. Also called an Administrative Rule.
Administrative decision
An administrative Agency's resolution of controversy (following a hearing) involving the application of the regulations, statutes, or executive orders that govern the agency. Also called an Administrative Ruling.
The fundamental law of a municipality or other local unit of government authorizing it to perform designated governmental functions.
A law passed by the local legislative branch of government (eg city council) that declares, commands, or prohibits something. (same as statue, but at the local level of government) See Statute on the broader meaning of statue and legislation
Rules of Court (court rules)
The procedural laws that govern the mechanics of litigation (practice and procedure) before a particular court. Also called court rules.
executive order
A law issued by the cheif executive pursuant to specific statutory authority to direct the operations of governmental agencies.
A formal agreement between two or more nations. Also called a convention
Opinion of the attorney general
Formal legal advice given by the chief law officer of the government to another government official or agency. (technically, this is not a category of law, but it is often relied on as a source of law)
Checks and balances
An allocation of governmental powers whereby one branch of government can block, check, or review what another branch wants to do (or has done) in order to maintain a balance of power amoung the legislative, executive and judicial branches.
Judicial review
The power of a court to determine the constitutionality of a statute or other law, including the power to refuse to enforce it if the court concludes that it violates the constitiution
Common Law
(1) Court opinions; all of case law. (2) The legal system of England and of those countries such as the United states whose legal system is based on England's (3) The case law and statutory law of England and in the American colonies before the American Revolution. (4) Judge-made law in absence of controlling statutory law or other higher law.
Civil law system
The legal system of many western european countries (other than England) that places a greater emphasis on statutory or code law than do countries (such as England and the United States) whose common law system places a greater emphasis on case law.
At common law
All the case law and statutory law in England and in the American colonies before the Revolution.
A prior decision covering a similar issue that can be used as a standard or guide in later cases.
Stare Decisis

("stand by things decided") Courts should decide similar cases in the same way unless there is good reason for the court to do otherwise. In resolving an issue before it, a court should be reluctant to reject precident - a prior opinion covering a similar issue
Cause of Action
A legally acceptable reason for suing. Facts that agive a party the right to judicial relief

A partial repealing or abolishing of a law, as by a subsequent act that liimits its scope or force
A bargained-for promise, act, or forbearance. Somethiing of value exchanged between parties.
Involving conflict or adversaries
Adversary System
A method of resolving a legal dispute whereby the parties (alone or through thier advocates) argue their conflicting claims before a neutral decision maker.
Inquisitorial system
A method of resolving a legal dispute in some civil law countries in which the judge has a more active role in questioning the witnesses and in conduction the trial than in an adversary system
Justice administered according to fairness in a particular case, as contrasted with strictly formalized rules once followed by common law courts.
Specific performance
An equitable remedy that orders the performance of a contract according to the precise terms agreed upon by the parties.
An equitable remedy that orders a person or organization to do or to refrain from doing something
Constitutional Court
A court created within the Constitiution. (At the federal level, they are called Artical III courts because they are created within Artical III of the US constitution)
Legislative Court
A court created by the legislature. (At the federal level they are called Artical I courts because Artical I of the US Constitution gives Congress the authority to create special courts.)
(1) The power of a court to decide a matter in controversy (2) The geographic area over which a particular court system or other government unit has authority (3) The scope of power or authority that a person or entity can exersize.
To hear and resolve a legal matter judicially. To judge. The noun is adjudication; the adjective is adjudicative
Personal jurisdiction
A court's power over a person to adjudicate his or her personal rights
In rem jurisdiction
A court's power over a particular thing or status ("res") located within the territory over which the court has authority.
quasi-in-rem jurisdiction
A court's power over a person, but restricted to his or her specific interest in property within the territory over which the court has authority.
Subject matter jurisdiction
The court's power to resolve a particular kind or category of dispute.
Limited Jurisdiction
The court's power to hear only certain kinds of cases, Also called special jurisdiction
General Jurisdiction
The power of a court to hear any kind of civil or criminal case, with certain exceptions.
State questions
Issues that arise from or are based on the state constitution, state statutes, state administrative regulations, state common law, or other state laws.
Federal questions
Issues that arise from or are based on the federal constitution, federal statues, federal administrative regulations, or other federal laws.
Concurrent Jurisdiction
The power of a court to hear a particular kind of case, along with other courts that could also hear it.
Exclusive Jurisdiction
The power of a court to hear a particular kind of case to the exclusion of other courts.
original jurisdiction
The power of a court to be the first to hear a case before it is reveiwed by another court
Appelate jurisdiction
The power of an appellate court to review and correct the decisions of a lower tribunal.
The power of a court to examine the correctness of what a lower tribunal has done. (short for Judicial Reveiw)
wit of certiorari (cert.)

An order (or writ) by a higher court that a lower court send up the record of a case because the higher court has decided to use its discretion to review that case.
inferior court
A trial court of limited or special jurisdiction. (A broader meaning of inferior court is any court that is sub-ordinated to the court of final resort.)
appellate brief
A document submitted (filed) by a party to an appellate court (and served on the opposing party) in which arguments are presented on why the appellate court should affirm (approve), reverse, or otherwise modify what a lower court has done.
A group of judges, usually three, who decide a case in a court with a larger number of judges.
En Banc

(Also spelled in banc and en bank)
By the entire court. (french for in the bench)
Court of final resort
The highest court within a judicial system.
US District Court
The main trail court in the federal judicial system
Diversity of citizenship
The disputing parties are citizens of different states and the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000. This diversity gives jurisdiction to a US District Court
US Court of Appeals
The main intermediate appellate court in the federal judicial system.
US Supreme Court
The court of final resort in the federal judicial system.
administrative agency
A governmental body, other than a court or legislature, that carries out (ie administers or executes) the statutes of the legislature, the executive orders of the chief executive, and its own regulations.
executive department agency
An administrative agency that exists within the executive branch of government, often at the cabinet level
A legally sufficient reason to do something. Sometimes referred to as just cause or good cause.
independent regulatory agency
An administrative agency that regulates an aspect of society. It often exists outside the executive branch of the government.
quasi-independent regulatory agency
An administrative agency that has characteristics of an executive department agency and an independent regulatory agency.
government corporation
A government-owned entity that is a mixture of business corporation and a government agency created to serve a predominantly business function in the public interest.
An administrative regulation enacted by an administrative agency that has some characteristics of the legislation (statutes) enacted by the legislature
An administrative decision written by an administrative agency that has some characteristics of an opinion written by a court.
administrative law judge (ALJ)
A government officer who presides over a hearing at an administrative agency.
exhaust administrative remedies
To go through all dispute-solving avenues that are available in an administrative agency before asking a court to review what the agency did.
Administrative Procedure Act (APA)
The statute that governs procecures before federal administrative agencies. many states have their own APA for procedures before state administrative agencies.
A proposed statue. Legislation under consideration by legislature. (occasionally bill means a statute, eg GI Bill.)

having two houses or chambers in legislature
(camera - chamber)

Having one house or chamber in the legislature
Legislative history
Hearings, debates, amendements, commitee reports, and all other events that occur in the legislature before a bill is enacted into a statute.
The electoriate's power to propose and directly enact a statute or change in the constitution or to force the legislature to vote on the proposal
The electoriate's power to give final approval to an existing provision of the constitution or statute of the legislature.
(1) A continuous setting of legislature or court. (2) Any time in the day during which such a body sits.
A word-for-word account. A written copy of oral testimony. (transcribed means taken down in a word-for-word accout.)
engrossed bill
The version of a bill passed by one of the chambers of the legislature after incorporating amendments or other changes
conference committee
A temporary committee consisting of members of both chambers of the legislature that seeks to reach a compromise on two versions of the same bill each chamber passed.
enrolled bill
A bill that is ready to be sent to the chief executive after both chambers of the legislature have passed it.
A rejection by the chief executive after both chambers of the legislature have pased it.
To supersede or change a result. To approve a bill over the veto of the chief executive.
Pocket veto
The chief executive's "silent" rejection of an bill by not acting on it within ten days of receiving it if the legislature adjorns during this period.