Dual Sovereignty Dual sovereignty is a concept in American constitutional that both the State governments and the federal governments are sovereign. Statutory Construction The judicial interpretation of an act of Congress. Political Question 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. Writ of Mandamus A court order forcing action. Appellate Jurisdiction The jurisdiction of courts that hear cases brought to them on appeal from lower courts.
Original Intent A view that the Constitution should be interpreted according to the original intent of the framers. An unwritten tradition whereby nominations for state-level federal judicial posts are not confirmed if they are opposed by a senator from the state in which the nominee will serve. Dual court system refers to the separate Federal and State. Contract clause — Clause of the Constitution Article I, Section 10 originally intended to prohibit state governments from modifying contracts made between individuals; for a while interpreted as prohibiting state governments from taking actions that adversely affect property rights; no longer interpreted so broadly and no longer constrains state governments from exercising their police powers. District and Appellate Courts Administrative Office of the United States Courts January 1983. Public Defender he term public defender is primarily used to refer to a lawyer appointed to represent people who cannot afford to hire an attorney in the United States and Brazil.
For public officials and public figures, the constitutional tests designed to restrict libel actions are especially rigid. 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 a party or an action of government. Petit jury — A jury of 6 to 12 persons that determines guilt or innocence in a civil or criminal action. Judicial Activism Describes judicial rulings suspected of being based on personal or political considerations rather than on existing law. Defendant In a criminal trial, a defendant is any person accused charged of commiting an offence a crime , an act defined as punishable under criminal law. If the jury believes there is sufficient evidence that a crime was committed, it issues an indictment.
Plea bargain — Agreement between a prosecutor and a defendant that the defendant will plead guilty to a lesser offense to avoid having to stand trial for more serious offense. Grand jury — A jury of 12 to 23 persons who, in private, hear evidence presented by the government to determine whether persons shall be required to stand trial. Constitution gives national and state governments this power and requires them to provide just compensation for property so taken. The state governments and the federal government each have spheres and can execute powers that the other cannot. Niemi, Vital Statistics on American Politics, 2003-2004 Washington, D.
Original Jurisdiction The jurisdiction of courts that hear a case first, usually in a trial. Substantive due process - Constitutional requirement that governments act reasonably and that the substance of the laws themselves be fair and reasonable; limits what the government may do. Madison 1803 : The Supreme Court could declare a congressional act unconstitutional McCulloch v. Niemi, Vital Statistics on American Politics, 2003-2004 Washington, D. Regulatory taking — Government regulation of property so extensive that government is deemed to have taken the property by the power of eminent domain, for which it must compensate the property owners.
It concerns disputes between two parties and consists of both statutes and common law. Federal Question Cases The subject-matter jurisdiction of United States federal courts to hear a civil case because the plaintiff has alleged a violation of the United States Constitution, federal law, or a treaty to which the United States is a party. Solicitor General A president appointee and the third-ranking office in the Department of Justice. Judicial Review The power of the courts to determine whether acts of Congress, and by implication the executive, are in accord with the U. Civil Law The body of law involving cases without a charge of criminality. Constitutional Question An issue whose resolution requires the interpretation of a constitution rather than that of a statute. Search warrant — A writ issued by a magistrate that authorizes the police to search a particular place or person, specifying the place to be searched and the objects to be seized.
Double jeopardy — Trial or punishment for the same crime by the same government; forbidden by the Constitution. Writ of Certiorari A formal document issued from the Supreme Court to a lower federal or state court that calls up a case. Judicial Restraint A judicial philosophy in which judges play minimal policy-making roles, leaving that strictly to the legislatures. Indictment — A formal written statement from a grand jury charging an individual with an offense; also called a true bill. Eminent domain — Power of a government to take private property for public use; the U. They are the only federal courts in which no trials are held and in which juries may be empaneled.
Community policing — Assigning police to neighborhoods where they walk the beat and work with churches and other community groups to reduce crime and improve relations with minorities. These are the courts that determine the facts about a case. Concurring Opinion A written opinion by one or more judges of a court which agrees with the decision made by the majority of the court, but states different reasons as the basis for his or her decision. Common Law The accumulation of judicial decisions applied in civil law disputes. Precedent How similar cases have been decided in the past. Legislative Courts Courts established by Congress for specialized purposes, such as the Court of Military Appeals.