Ch 15- Judicial Branch Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Ch 15- Judicial Branch Deck (21):

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 substanitial 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 settled as a matter or law


amicus curiae briefs

legal briefs submitted by a "friend of the court" 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. These are the 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. These courts do not review the factual record, only the legal issues involved


district courts

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


courts of appeals

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


Supreme Court

the pinnacle of the American judicial system. The Court ensures uniformly in interpreting national laws, resolves conflicts among states, and maintains national supremacy in law. It has both original jurisdiction and appellate jurisdiction


senatorial courtesy

an unwritten tradition whereby nominations 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. The tradition also applies to court of appeals when there is opposition from a senator of the president's party who is from the nominee's state


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



a statement or legal reasoning behind a judicial decision. The contest of an opinion may be as important as the declaration itself.


stare decisis

a latin phrase meaning "let the decision stand". Most cases reaching appellate courts are settled on this principle.



how similar cases have been decided in the past



a view that the Constitution should be interpreted according to the original intentions or original meaning of the Framers. Many conservatives support this view.


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 government to enforce their decisions


Marbury v Madison

The 1803 case in which the Supreme Court asserted its right to determine the meaning of the U.S. Constitution. The decision established the Court's power of judicial review over acts of Congress.


judicial restraint

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


judicial activism

an approach to decision making in which judges sometimes make bold policy decisions, 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.