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23 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back

Standing to sue

the requirement that plaintiffs have a serious interest i a case, which depends on whether they have sustained or are likely to sustain a direct and substantial injury from another party or from an action of government

Class action suits

lawsuits in which a small number of people sue on behalf of all people in similar circumstances

Justiciable disputes

issues capable of being settles as a matter of law

Amicus curiae briefs

"friend of the court", legal briefs submitted for the purpose of influencing a court's decision by raising additional points of view and presenting information not contained in the briefs of the formal parties

Original jurisdiction

the jurisdiction of courts that hear a case first, usually in a trial , courts that determine the facts about a case

Appellate jurisdiction

the jurisdiction of courts that hear cases brought to them on appeal from lower courts, do not review the factual record on the legal issues involved

District courts

the 91 federal courts of original jurisdiction, the only federal courts in which trials are held and in which juries may be impaneled

Courts of appeal

appellate courts empowered to review all final decisions of district courts, except in rare cases, they also hear appeals to orders of many federal regulatory agencies

Supreme Court

the pinnacle of the American judicial system, the court ensures uniformity in interpreting national laws, resolves conflicts among states, and maintains national supremacy in law, has both original jurisdiction and appellate jurisdiction

Senatorial courtesy

an unwritten tradition whereby nomination for state-level federal judicial posts are usually not confirmed if they are opposed by a senator of the president's party from the state in which the nominee will serve

Solicitor general

a presidential appointee and the third-ranking office in the Department of Justice, in charge of appellate court litigation of the federal government


a statement of legal reasoning behind a judicial decision, the content of opinion may be as important as the decision itself

Stare decisis

meaning "let the decision stand," most cases reaching appellate courts are settled on this principle


how similar cases have been decided in the past

Judicial implementation

how and whether court decision are translated into actual policy, thereby affecting the behavior of others, the courts rely on other units of government to enforce their decisions

Original intent

the original understanding of the Constitution as it was intended at the time

Marbury v. Madision

the 1803 case in which Chief Justice John Marshall and his associates first asserted the right of the Supreme Court to determine the meaning of the US Constitution, the decision established the court's power of judicial review over acts of Congress, in this case the Judiciary Act of 1789

Judicial Review

the power of the courts to determine whether acts of Congress and, by implication, the executive are in accord with the U.S. Constitution, established by John Marshall and his associates in Marbury v. Madison

United States v. Nixon

Judicial restraint

an approach to decision making in which judges play minimal policy making roles and defer to legislatures whenever possible

Judicial activism

an approach to decision making in which judges sometime make bold policy decision, even charting new constitutional ground

Political questions

a doctrine developed by the federal courts and used as a means to avoid deciding some cases, principally those involving conflicts between the president and Congress

Statutory construction

the judicial interpretation of an act of Congress, in some cases where statutory construction is an issue, Congress passes new legislation to clarify existing laws