AP Gov. Chap 14

  1. Activist Approach
    approach to judicial review to find general principles underlying constitution-> amplify some moral or economic philosophy=apply them to cases
  2. Amicus Curiae "friend of the court"
    groups or indivuals, not directly involved in suit, who may file legal briefs or oral arguments in support of one side
  3. Brief
    legal document submitted by lawyers to courts.= facts of case, summarizes any lower court decisions on case, gives argument for side represented by the lawyer, disscusses decisions in other cases bearing on issue.
  4. Civil law
    rules defining relationships among private citizens
  5. Class-Action Suit
    case brought into court by a person on behalf of himself and all other persons in similar circumstances. S.C in 1974 = only authorized by Congress and those in which ascertainable member of the class is individually notified if money damages are sought.
  6. Concurring Opinion
    opinion by one or more justices who agree with the majority's conclusion but for different reasons that they wish to express
  7. Conservative/ Strict Constructionist Bloc
    one of 3 groups of justices in '70s and '80s including Chief Justice Warren Burger who took a consistently conservative position on issues
  8. Constitutional Court
    lower federal courts that exercise powers delinated in Article III. judges enjoy protections from "good-behavoir" and no reduction of salary while in office.
  9. Courts of appeals
    courts with authority to review decisions by fed. district courts, regulatory commissions, and certainother fed courts. = No original jurisdiction= can only HEAR APPEALS
  10. Criminal law
    rules defining offensesagainst society as a whole and for which conviction could result in a prison term.
  11. Dissenting opinion
    opinion of the justices on the losing side.
  12. District courts
    • lowest federal courts where federal cases begin = only federal courts where trials are held.
  13. Diversity cases
    Jurisdiction conferred by the Constitution on federal courts to hear cases involving citizens of different states=must involve more than $50,000, and even then the parties have the option of commencing the suit in state court.
  14. Dual sovereignty
    doctrine holding that state and federal authorities can prosecute the same person for the same conduct, each authority prosecuting under its own law.
  15. Federal-question cases
    Jurisdiction conferred by the Constitution on federal courts to hear all cases "arising under the Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties."
  16. Fee shifting
    A practice that allows plaintiffs to collect their costs from a defendant if the defendant loses. The Supreme Court has limited fee shifting to cases in which it is authorized bv statue.
  17. In forma pauperis
    A petition filed with the U.S. Supreme Court by an indigent person. $300 filing fee is waived for such petitions.
  18. Judicial review
    The right of federal courts to declare laws of Congress and acts of the executive branch void and unenforceable if they are judged to be in conflict with the Constitution.
  19. Legislative court
    lower federal court for specialized purposes= justices have fixed terms of office, can be removed from office, and may have their salaries reduced while in office.
  20. Liberal/Activist bloc
    One of three groups of justices in the '70s and '80s, led by Justice William Brennan, who took a consistently liberal position on issues. It was usually in the minority.
  21. Litmus test
    A test of ideological purity used by recent presidents in selecting and senators in confirming judges to nominate to federal courts.
  22. Marbury v. Madison
    Chief justice John Marshall in 1803 which interpreted the Constitution as giving the Supreme Court the power to declare an act of Congress unconstitutional. This decision is the foundation of the federal judiciary's power of judicial review.
  23. McCulloch v. Maryland
    Chief justice John Marshall in 1819 which held that the power of the federal government flows from the people and should be generously construed so that any laws "necessary and proper" to the attainment of constitutional ends are permissible, and that federal law is supreme over state law even to the point that the state may not tax an enterprise (such as a bank) created by the federal government.
  24. Opinion of the Court
    opinion by the Supreme Court that reflects the majority's view
  25. Per curiam opinion
    A brief and unsigned opinion by the Supreme Court plaintiff*.

    * The party that initiates a suit in law.
  26. Political question
    An issue that the Court refuses to consider because it believes the Constitution has left it entirely to another branch to decide. Its view of such issues may change over time
  27. Remedy
    judicial order setting forth what must be done to correct a situation a judge believes to be wrong.
  28. Section 1983 case
    A provision in the U.S. Code which allows a citizen to sue state and local government officials who have deprived the citizen of some constitutional right or withheld some benefit to which the citizen is entitled. If the citizen wins, he or she can collect money damages and lawyers' fees from the government.
  29. Senatorial courtesy
    The tradition by which the Senate will not confirm a district court judge if the senator who is from that state and of the president's party objects.
  30. Solicitor general
    The third-ranking officer in the Justice Department, who decides what cases the federal government will appeal from lower courts and personally approves every case the government presents to the Supreme Court.
  31. Sovereign immunity
    A legal concept that forbids a person from suing the government without its consent. Congress has given its consent for the government to be sued in many cases involving disputes over contracts or damage done as a result of negligence.
  32. Standing
    • A legal concept that refers to who is entitled to bring a case.
    • Three basic rules govern standing:
    • 1.)there must be an actual controversy between real adversaries.
    • 2.) the person bringing suit must show that he or she has been harmed by the law or practice involved in the complaint.
    • 3.) merely being a taxpayer does not entitle a person to challenge the constitutionality of a governmental, action.
  33. Stare decisis
    informal rule of judicial decision making in which judges try to follow precedent in deciding cases. That is, a court case today should be settled in accordance with prior decisions on similar cases.
  34. Strict constructionist approach
    approach to judicial review which holds that judges should confine themselves to applying those rules that are stated in or clearly implied by the language of the Constitution.
  35. Supreme Court of the United States
    • highest court in the federal judiciary (DUH!) *created by Constitution
    • -nine justices
    • -has appellate jurisdiction over lower federal courts and the highest state courts
    • -possesses a limited original jurisdiction.
  36. Swing bloc
    One of three groups of justices in the '70s and '80s that vacillated between liberal and conservative voting positions.
  37. Writ of Certiorari
    order issued by the Supreme Court granting a hearing to an appeal.

    • -vote of four justices is needed to issue the writ.
    • -about 3 or 4 percent of all appeals are accented.
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AP Gov. Chap 14
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