1. judicial review
    Power of the courts to review acts of the other branches of government and the states.
  2. Judiciary Act of 1789
    Legislative act that established the basic three-tiered structure of the federal court system.
  3. Marbury v. Madison (1803)
    Case in which the Supreme Court first asserted the power of judicial review by finding that the congressional statue extending the Court's original jurisdiction was unconstitutional.
  4. Trial court
    Court of original jurisdiction where cases begin.
  5. appellate court
    Court that generally reviews only findings of law made by lower courts.
  6. jurisdiction
    Authority vested in a particular court to hear and decide the issues in a particular case.
  7. original jurisdiction
    The jurisdiction of courts that hear a case first, usually in a trial. These courts determine the facts of a case.
  8. appellate jurisdiction
    The power vested in particular courts to review and/or revise the decision of a lower court.
  9. criminal law
    Codes of behavior related to the protection of property and individual safety.
  10. civil law
    Codes of behavior related to the conduct and relatioships between individuals or groups.
  11. constitutional courts
    Federal courts specifically created by the U.S. Constitution or by Congress pursuant to its authority in Article III.
  12. legislative courts
    Courts established by Congress for specialized purposes, such as the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.
  13. Brief
    A document containig the legal written arguments in a case filed with a court by a party prior to a hearing or trial
  14. precedent
    A prior judicial decision that serves as a rule for settling subsequent cases of a similar nature.
  15. stare decisis
    In court rulings, a reliance on past decisions or precedents to formulate decisions in new cases.
  16. senatorial courtesy
    Process by which presidents generally defer selection of district court judges to the choice of senators of their own party who represent the state where a vacancy occurs.
  17. writ of certiorari
    A request for the Supreme Court to order up the records from a lower court to review the case.
  18. Rule of Four
    At least for justices of the Supreme Court must vote to consider a case before it can be heard.
  19. solicitor general
    The fourth-ranking member of the Department of Justice; responsible for handling nearly all appeals on behalf of the U.S. government to the Supreme Court.
  20. amicus curiae
    "Friend of the court"; amici may file briefs or even appear to argue their interests orally before the court.
  21. judicial restraint
    A philosophy of judicial decision making that posits courts should allow the decisions of other branches of government to stand, even when they offend a judge's own principles.
  22. judicial activism
    A philosophy of judicial decision making that posits judges should use their power broadly to further justice.
  23. strict constructionist
    An approach to constitutional interpretation that emphasizes interpretation that emphasizes interpreting the Constitution as it was written and intended by the Framers.
  24. judicial implementation
    How and whether judicial decisions are translated into actual public policies affecting more than the immediate parties to a lawsuit.
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