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Flashcards in OVERALL Deck (86)
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government bureaucracy

agencies and offices devoted to carrying out the tasks of government consistent with the law.


government agency

an individual unit of government responsible for carrying out the tasks delegated to it by congress or the president in accordance with the law.


cabinet departments

Departments within the executive branch that encompass many of the agencies that implement federal policy. Secretaries appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate are given the responsibility of leading these departments and advising the president.


independent agency

an agency that exists outside the cabinet departments and is run with a larger degree of independence from presidential influence.


government corporation

a federally owned corporation that generates revenue by providing a public service, operating much like a private business and with a higher degree of autonomy than a cabinet department or an independent agency.


bureaucratic drift

when government agencies depart from executing policy consistent with the ideological preferences of Congress or the president so as to execute policy consistent with their own ideological preferences.


coalitional drift

when an ideological shift in elected branches creates disparity between the way an agency executes policy and the way new members of Congress or a new president believes the agency ought to execute policy.


bureaucratic capture

when regulatory agencies are beholden to the organizations or interests they are supposed to regulate.


administrative law

the body of law created by executive agencies with the purpose of refining general law passed in legislation.


rule making

the process by which government agencies provide details on how laws passed by elected officials will be implemented.



the contracting of private companies by the government to conduct work that was formerly done by government agencies.



government bureaucratic reform that emphasizes market-based principles of management that are common to the private sector.


government contract

an agreement whereby the government hires a company or an organization to carry out certain tasks on its behalf.


government grant

money that the government provides to individuals or organizations to perform tasks in the public's interest.


fire-alarm oversight

congressional oversight that relies on interest groups and citizens to inform representatives of unwarranted action.


police-patrol oversight

congressional oversight that consists of actively monitoring agencies through routine inspection.


judicial review

the authority of the judiciary to decide whether a law or any other government action is constitutional.


federal court supremacy

the arrangement based on the supremacy clause ini the Constitution that gives federal courts the authority to overturn state court decisions and to decide on the constitutionality of state laws and actions.


criminal case

a case in which the government prosecutes a person for a crime against society.


civil case

a case in which at least one person sues another person for violating the civil code of conduct.



The official status of a litigant who is entitled to have his or her case decided by the court.


class action

a lawsuit in which the plaintiff or defendant is a collective group of individuals.


common law

a system of jurisprudence in which the judiciary has the authority to determine how the law is to be interpreted. Under this system, legal precedent established by judges informs future decisions.


civil law

a system of jurisprudence in which authoritative documents determine how the law is to be interpreted. Under this system, legal codes and statutes (and not judges) inform future decisions.


stare decisis

the legal principle that requires judges to respect the decisions of past court cases.


statutory law

the laws passed by legislatures, or administrative agencies empowered by legislatures, and the court decisions interpreting those laws.


constitutional law

the collection of fundamental rules for making statutory laws and regulations, their enforcement, and the court decisions interpreting those rules.


writ of certiorari

An order by the Supreme Court directing an inferior court to deliver records of a case to be reviewed, which effectively means the justices of the Court have decided to hear the case.



the status of a case in which further legal proceedings would have no impact on one or both parties.


amicus curiae

Briefs (letters to the court) in which those who are not parties in a case provide their opinions on how the case should be decided.