APGOV CH 16 Terms

  1. Litigants
    People involved in a lawsuit. Plaintiffs bring some charge against the defendants. Plaintiffs must have standing to sue. Class action suits allow a small number of people to sue on behalf of all other people in similar circumstances. 
  2. Standing to Sue
    The requirement that plaintiffs have a serious interest in a case, which depends on whether they have sustained or are likely to sustain a direct and substantial injury from an action of government. Doesn't allow everyone to challenge a law.
  3. Class Action Lawsuits
    Lawsuits permitting a small number of people to sue on behalf of all other people similarly situated. I.E. in a civil rights case a few people seek an end to discriminatory practices on behalf of all who might be discriminated against. 
  4. Justiciable Disputes
    A requirement that to be heard a case must be capable of being settled as a matter of law rather than on other grounds as is commonly the case in legislative bodies. 
  5. Amicus Curiae Briefs
    Legal briefs submitted by a "friend of the court" for the purpose of raising additional points of view and presenting information not contained in the briefs of the formal parties. These briefs attempt to influence a court's decision. Groups don't directly argue the case for litigants, but support them instead. 
  6. Original Jursidiction
    The jurisdiction of courts that hear a case first, usually in trial. These are the courts that determine the facts about a case. 
  7. Appellate Jurisdiction
    The jurisdiction of courts that hear cases brought to them on appeal from lower courts. These courts do not review the factual record, only the legal issues involved. 
  8. Constitutional Courts
    The Constitution left it to Congress's discretion to establish lower federal courts of general jurisdiction. In the Judiciary Act of 1789, Congress created these constitutional courts. AKA Article III Courts (outlines Judicial Branch). I.E. US Supreme Court, US Courts of Appeals, US District Courts. 
  9. Legislative Courts
    Established by Congress for specialized purposes. I.E. Court of Military Appeals, the Court of Claims  the Court of International Trade, and the Tax Court. Staffed by judges who have fixed terms of office and who lack the protections against removal or salary reductions that judges on constitutional courts enjoy. Can't exercise power of judicial review. AKA Article I Courts. 
  10. US District Court
    The 91 federal courts of original jurisdiction. The only federal courts in which trials are held and in which juries may be impaneled. At least one is located in each state. Each has between 2 and 28 judges, depending on the amount of judicial work within its territory. 
  11. US Court of Appeals 
    Appellate courts empowered to review all final decisions of district courts, except in rare cases. Also have authority to review and enforce orders of many federal regulatory agencies. Focus on correcting errors of procedure and law that occurred in the original proceedings of legal cases. 
  12. En banc
    Court of appeals may hear cases with all judges present in particularly important cases. Normally consist of 3 judges. Decisions in either arrangement are made by majority vote of the participating judges.
  13. Senatorial Courtesy
    An unwritten tradition whereby nominations for state-level federal judicial posts are not confirmed if they are opposed by a senator of the president's party from the state in which the nominee will serve  The tradition also applies to courts of appeal when there is opposition from the nominee's state senator. 
  14. Supreme Court Confirmations
    The president nominates people to fill judicial slots, and the Senate must confirm each nomination by majority vote. 
  15. Justice Selection Criteria
    The Constitution sets no special requirements for judges or justices. Competence and ethical behavior are important to presidents for their judicial nominees. Justices have all been lawyers and all but four (Thurgood Marshall, Sandra Day O'Connor, Clarence Thomas, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg) have been white males. Most have been in their 50s/60s when they took office, from the upper-middle or upper class, and Protestants. Typically, justices have held high administrative or judicial positions before moving to the SC. Most often are part of same political party as president who appoints them. Presidents want to appoint people who share their ideology. 
  16. Rule of Four
    If four justices agree to grant review of a case, it can be scheduled for oral argument or decided on the basis of the written record already on file with the Court. 
  17. Writ of Certiorari
    A formal document that calls up a case. Most common way for the Court to put a case on its docket. Issued to a lower federal or state court. 
  18. Solicitor General
    A presidential appointee and the third-ranking office in the Department of Justice. The solicitor general is in charge of the appellate court litigation of the federal government. The solicitor general and a staff of about 2 dozen experienced attorneys have four key functions: 1)to decide whether to appeal cases the gov't has lost in the lower courts, 2) to review and modify the briefs presented in gov't appeals, 3) to represent the gov't before the SC, 4) to submit a brief on behalf of a litigant in a case in which the gov't is not directly involved. 
  19. Per Curiam rulings
    A decision without an explanation. They resolve the immediate case but have no value as precedent because the Court does not offer reasoning that would guide lower courts in future decisions. 
  20. Stare Decisis
    A Latin phrase meaning "let the decision stand." Most cases reaching appellate courts are settled on this principle. It means that an earlier decision should hold for the case being considered.
  21. Majority Opinion
    A statement of legal reasoning behind a judicial decision. The content of an opinion may be as important as the decision itself. Tradition in the SC requires that the chief justice, if in the majority, write the opinion or assign it to another justice in teh majority. If the chief justice is part of the minority, the senior associate justice in the majority assigns the opinion. Drafts are circulated w/in the SC, justices make suggestions, and they all conduct negotiations among themselves. A justice must redraft an opinion that proves unacceptable to the majority of his/her colleagues on the Court. 
  22. Dissenting Opinion
    When justices oppose all or part of the majority's decision, they write dissenting opinions.
  23. Judicial Activism
    A judicial philosophy in which judges make bold policy decisions, even charting new constitutional ground. Advocates of this approach emphasize that the courts can correct pressing needs, especially those unmet by the majoritarian political process. 
  24. Judicial Constraint
    A judicial philosophy in which judges play minimal policymaking roles and adhere closely to precedent, leaving that duty strictly to the legislatures. People who favor this policy stress that the federal courts, composed of unelected judges, are the least democratic branch of gov't and question the qualifications of judges for making  policy decisions and balancing interests. 
  25. Judicial Implementation 
    How and whether court decisions are translated into actual policy, thereby affecting the behavior of others. The courts rely on other units of gov't to enforce their decisions. The implementation of court decisions involves several elements: the interpreting population, implementing population, and consumer population. 
  26. 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. 
  27. 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 and, in effect, overturns the courts. 
  28. Marshall Court
    Came up with the Marbury v. Madison decision, in which 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 (power of courts to determine whether acts of cong are in accord with the US const) over acts of Congress. 
  29. 9 Old Men
    SC during the New Deal. President Roosevelt urged Congress to pass dozens of laws designed to end the Depression. Conservatives, who viewed federal intervention in the economy as unconstitutional, dominated the Court. SC dismantled New Deal policies one by one. Average age of the court was over 70 - this was when FDR proposed his "court-packing plan" 
  30. Warren Court
    1953-1969. Presided over by Chief Justice Earl Warren. Eisenhower appointed Warren. Ruled in Brown v. Board. Expanded the rights of criminal defendants, extending the right to counsel and protections against unreasonable search and seizure and self-incrimination. It ordered states to reapportion both their legislatures and their congressional districts according to the principle of one person, one vote, and it prohibited organized prayer in public schools.
  31. Burger Court
    Appointed in 1969 by Nixon. Burger Court was more conservative than the liberal Warren Court (which preceded it). It narrowed defendants' rights, though it did not overturn the fundamental rights of the Miranda decision. Wrote the abortion decision in Roe v. Wade, required school busing in certain cases to eliminate historic segregation, and upheld affirmative action programs in the Weber case. Ordered Nixon to turn his White House tapes over to the courts in US v. Nixon. 
  32. Rehnquist Court
    By the late 1990s, the conservative nominees of Republican presidents composed a clear SC majority. Their decisions limited rather than reversed rights established by liberal decisions such as those regarding defendants  rights and abortion. The Court no longer saw itself as the special protector of individual liberties and civil rights for minorities  The Court blazed new paths in constraining the federal gov'ts power over the states. 
  33. Roberts Court
    The SC since 2005, under the leadership of Chief Justice John G. Roberts. More conservative than Rehnquist Court. The Court's decisions have not been uniformly conservative - have limited use of death penalty and rejected broad claims of executive power in gov'ts efforts to combat terrorism. In Massachusetts v. EPA, the court sided with environmentalists and rebuked the Environmental Protection Agency for declining to regulate greenhouse gasses.
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APGOV CH 16 Terms
APGOV CH 16 Terms