government

Abortion

Abortion: an overview

In 1973, Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, changed the legal status of abortion by striking down a Texas law that criminalized abortion except as a means of saving the mother’s life. The case pitted individual privacy rights against...

Abrogate

To abrogate is to formally annul or repeal a law through an act of legislation, constitutional authority, or custom. For example, the Supreme Court of Michigan explained in Ferency v. Secretary of State that “an existing constitutional...

Absentee Ballot

Definition

A paper ballot submitted, before an election day and often by mail, by a voter who is unable to attend the official polling station on election day. Also called absentee vote.

Abstention

Definition

A federal court's decision not to exercise jurisdiction over a case. The usual goal of abstention is the avoidance of needless conflict with a state court. See Federalism.

Abstention: an overview

Abstention is a doctrine under which...

Abstention Doctrine

See alsoAbstention

Act

Something done or performed by a person or body (such as a court). Formal product of a legislative body that becomes part of the law. An act may or may not concern a single subject (e.g., air quality). Acts codified in the United States Code can be...

Ad Hoc

This phrases mean “for this purpose only.” Its literal translation from the Latin is “to this.”

Common examples are an ad hoc committee or an ad hoc commission created for a specific or one-time purpose to address issues that fall outside...

Administrative Agency

A government body authorized to implement legislative directives by developing more precise and technical rules than possible in a legislative setting. Many administrative agencies also have law enforcement responsibilities.

See Administrative...

Administrative Hearing

Definition

A trial-like proceeding before an administrative agency or administrative law judge. As in a trial, evidence is proffered and testimony is given. Unlike a trial, an administrative hearing is often shorter in duration and more...

Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)

Definition

An independent hearing examiner who presides at an administrative hearing. An ALJ has the power to administer oaths, receive evidence, take testimony, and make initial findings of fact or law. An ALJ’s findings are subject to review...

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