What are 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.
What is the attitudinal model?A theoretical model where judicial decisions are primarily determined by the policy goals and ideological agendas judges.
What is a civil case?A case in which at least one person sues another person for violating the civil code of conduct.
What is 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.

What is a class action lawsuit?A lawsuit in which the plaintiff or defendant is a collective group of individuals.
What is 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.
What is a concurring opinion?An opinion issued by a member of the majority of the Supreme Court that agrees with the decision of the majority but offers alternative legal reasoning.
What is a criminal case?A case in which the government prosecutes a person for a crime against society.

What is a dissenting opinion?An opinion issued by a member of the Supreme Court in opposition to the majority, offering legal reasoning for the decision to oppose.
What is federal court supremacy?The arrangement, based on the supremacy clause in the Constitution, that gives federal courts the authority to overturn state court decisions and to decide on the constitutionality of state laws and actions.
What is judicial activism?Judicial rulings that go beyond interpreting the law in order to promote a judge's personal or political agenda.
What is judicial review?The authority of the judiciary to decide whether a law or any other government action is constitutional.

What is the legal model?A theoretical model where judicial decisions are primarily determined by the case, the plain meaning of the text from the Constitution and statutes, the intent of the framers, and/or legal precedent.
What does it mean when a case is moot??The status of a case in which further legal proceedings would have no impact on one or both parties.
Define standing.The official status of a litigant who is entitled to have his or her case decided by the court.
What is stare decisis?The legal principle that requires judges to respect the decisions of past court cases.

What is the strategic (or rational choice) model?A theoretical model where judicial decisions are primarily determined by the policy goals of judges and the various constraints that stand in the way of achieving those goals.
What is strict constructivism?The legal philosophy that judges should use the intentions of those writing the law or the Constitution as guides for how to interpret the law.
What is a writ of certiorari?An order by the Supreme Court directing an inferior court to deliver the records of a case to be reviewed, which effectively means the justices of the Court have decided to hear the case.
What does it mean for a court to affirm??To declare that a court ruling is valid and must stand.

What is an appellate court?A court having jurisdiction to review cases and issues that were originally tried in lower courts.
What is broad construction?A judicial philosophy that looks to the context and purpose of a law when making an interpretation.
What is diversity of citizenship?The condition that exists when the parties to a lawsuit are citizens of different states, or when the parties are citizens of a U.S. state and citizens or the government of a foreign country. Diversity of citizenship can provide a basis for federal jurisdiction.
What is a federal question?A question that has to do with the U.S. Constitution, acts of Congress, or treaties. A federal question provides a basis for federal jurisdiction.

Define general jurisdiction.A court of general jurisdiction is one that has the authority to hear cases of all kinds - criminal, civil, family, probate, and so forth within the geographical area over which its power extends. All federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction.
What is judicial implementation?The way in which court decisions are translated into action.
What is judicial restraint?A doctrine holding that the Supreme Court should defer to the decisions made by the elected representatives of the people in the legislative and executive branches.
What is jurisdiction?The authority of a court to decide certain cases. Not all courts have the authority to decide all cases. Two jurisdictional issues are where a case arises as well as its subject matter.

Define limited jurisdiction.The courts of limited jurisdiction, as opposed to general jurisdiction, are courts whose power derives from an issuing authority (e.g. Statute, Constitution). Special jurisdiction courts always must demonstrate that they are authorized to exert jurisdiction under their issuing authority.
What is litigation?To engage in a legal proceeding or seek relief in a court of law; to carry on a lawsuit.
What is a majority opinion?A court opinion reflecting the views of the majority of the judges.
What is a legal opinion?The statement by a judge or a court of the decision reached in a case. The opinion sets forth the applicable law and details the reasoning on which the ruling was based.

What are oral arguments?The verbal arguments presented in person by attorneys to an appellate court. Each attorney presents reasons to the court why the court should rule in her or his client
What is a political question?An issue that a court believes should be decided by the executive or legislative branch.
What is a precedent?A court rule bearing on subsequent legal decisions in similar cases. Judges rely on precedents in deciding cases.
What does it mean for a court to remand a case??To send a case back to the court that originally heard it.

What does it mean for a court to reverse a case??To annul or make void a court ruling on account of some error or irregularity.
What is the rule of four?A United States Supreme Court procedure by which four justices must vote to grant a petition for review if a case is to come before the full court.
What is senatorial courtesy?In federal district court judgeship nominations, a tradition allowing a senator to veto a judicial appointment in his or her state.
What is a trial court?The court in which most cases begin.

What is a unanimous opinion?A court opinion or determination on which all judges agree.
Who is the attorney general?the position of the head of the Justice Department and the chief law enforcement officer of the United States
What are constitutional courts?Federal courts created by Congress under Article III of the Constitution, including the district courts, courts of appeals, &specialized courts such as the U.S. Court of International Trade
What was the court-packing plan?President FDR's failed 1937 attempt to increase the number of US Supreme Court Justices from 9 to 15 in order to save his 2nd New Deal programs from constitutional challenges

What are district courts?Lowest level of fed. courts, where fed. cases begin &trials are held (bank robbery, environmental violations, tax evasion)
What is judicial doctrine?The practice of prescribing in a decision a set of rules that are to guide future decisions on similar cases. Used by the Supreme Court to guide the lower courts in making decisions.
What is procedural doctrine?Principle of law that governs how the lower courts do their work.
Who is the 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.

What is substantive doctrine?Principle that guides judges on which party in a case should prevail - akin to policymaking.
What is a writ of mandamus?an extraordinary writ commanding an official to perform a ministerial act that the law recognizes as an absolute duty and not a matter for the official's discretion