In general usage, the set of government agencies that carries out government policies. The bureaucracy is characterized by formalized structures, specialized duties, a hierarchical system of authority, routine record keeping, and a permanent staff.
A term used generally to identify anyone who works within a large, formal organization. More specifically, it refers to career civil service employees of the government.
An informal designation that refers to the collective body of individuals appointed by the president to head the executive departments. The cabinet can, but rarely does, function as an advisory body to the president.
The method by which most government employees have been hired, promoted, and fired since the 1880s. Personnel decisions are based on merit, or the competence of the individual to do the job, rather than the individual’s political loyalties.
The recipients of the services a government agency’s programs provide.
Specialized knowledge acquired through work experience or training and education.
The alliance of a government agency, congressional committee or subcommittee, and political interest group for the purpose of directing government policy within the agency’s jurisdiction to the mutual benefit of the three partners.
A loose collection of groups or people in and out of government who interact on a policy issue on the basis of their interest and knowledge rather than just on the basis of economic interests.
The practice of rewarding partisan supporters with government jobs. Also known as the spoils system.
Determining whether an agency’s rules have been violated.
Usually the largest organization in government; also the highest rank in federal hierarchy
a government entity that is independent of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches
Independent regulatory commission
A government agency or commission with regulatory power whose independence is protected by Congress
A government agency that operates like a business corporation, created to secure greater freedom of action and flexibility for a particular program
System of public employment based on rewarding party loyalists and friends
a system of public employment in which selection and promotion depend on demonstrated performance rather than political patronage
Office of Personnel Management (OPM)
Agency that administers civil service laws, rules and regulations
Federal Statute barring federal employees from active participation in certain kinds of politics and protecting them from being fired on partisan grounds
The process of putting a law into practice through bureaucratic rules or spending
Authority given by Congress to the federal bureaucracy to use reasonable judgment in implementing the laws
The formal instructions that government issues for implementing laws
The portion of the federal budget that is spent on programs, such as Social Security, that the president and Congress are unwilling to cut
programs such as unemployment insurance, disaster relief, or disability payments that provide benefits to all eligible citizens
Providing automatic increases to compensate for inflation
The continuing review of how effectively the executive branch carries out the laws of Congress
Review of all executive branch testimony, reports, and draft legislation by the office of management and budget to ensure that each communication to Congress is in accordance with the president’s program
Class action lawsuit
A lawsuit filed by one or more persons on behalf of a group of individuals all having the same grievance.
A person or institution against whom an action is brought in a court of law; the person being sued or accused
Writ of habeas corpus
A writ ordering a prisoner to be brought before a judge
A jury of 12 to determine the facts and decide the issue in civil or criminal proceedings
A theory of judicial interpretation that encourages judges to limit the exercise of their own power. It asserts that judges should hesitate to strike down laws unless they are obviously unconstitutional. It is sometimes regarded as the opposite of judicial activism.
Rule of four
a Supreme Court of the United States practice that permits four of the nine justices to grant a writ of certiorari. This is done specifically to prevent a majority of the court from controlling all the cases it agrees to hear.
The body of statutes and other laws that defines conduct which is prohibited by the government because it is held to threaten, harm or otherwise endanger the safety and welfare of the public, and that sets out the punishment to be imposed on those who breach these laws.
Justiciable disputes are disputes that can be settled by law or a court of law.
A plea bargain is a agreement between the defense and the prosecution in a criminal case in order for promise of lower prison term
The right to hear a case for the first time as opposed to appellate jurisdiction when a court has the right to review a lower court’s decision. In the United States these courts are also referred to as trial courts.
Trial courts of the federal system
A political term used to describe judicial rulings that are suspected to be based upon personal and political considerations other than existing law
Amicus curiae brief
a brief presented by someone interested in influencing the outcome of a lawsuit but who is not a party to it
The law established by a nation or state for its own jurisdiction
The system of law relies each advocate representing positions and a judge determining the truth
A lawyer employed by the government to represent those who are charged with a crime and cannot afford an attorney
the power of a court to review decisions and change outcomes of decisions of lower courts
Courts of appeals
A division of the Supreme Court & hears all appeals from the Supreme & District Courts, & many tribunals.
This principle of the common law requires judges to apply previous binding decisions of their own court or any higher court
In common law legal systems, a precedent or authority is a legal case establishing a principle or rule that a court or other judicial body utilizes when deciding subsequent cases with similar issues or facts
The area of law which deals with the interpretation and application of a constitution, particularly that of a national government
Derisive term for excessive regulation or rigid conformity to formal rules that is considered redundant or bureaucratic and hinders or prevents action or decision-making.
It is usually applied to government, but can also be applied to other organizations like corporations
The doctrine in democratic theory under which legislative and executive action is subject to invalidation by the judiciary
The process by which a civil or commercial dispute is determined through courts of law. It results in a binding decision by a judge imposed on all parties. Litigation is the act or process of bringing or contesting a lawsuit and as such concerns the enforcement of legal rights
Also known as the complainant, is the party who initiates a lawsuit (also known as an action) before a court
In common law, a grand jury is a type of jury that determines whether there is enough evidence for a trial. Grand juries carry out this duty by examining evidence and issuing indictments, or by investigating alleged crimes and issuing presentments
An unwritten political custom in the United States whereby the president consults the senior U.S.
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Senator of his political party of a given state before nominating any person to a federal vacancy within that Senator’s state
Writ of certiorari
A common law writ issued by a superior court to one of inferior jurisdiction demanding the record of a particular case
A law established by following earlier judicial decisions
A body of law that addresses and provides remedies for civil wrongs not arising out of contractual obligations. A person who suffers legal damages may be able to use tort law to receive compensation from someone who is legally responsible, or liable, for those injuries