civil procedure

Personal Jurisdiction

Personal jurisdiction is the power of a court over the parties in the case.  Before a court can exercise power over a party, the constitution requires that the party have certain minimum contacts with the forum in which the court sits.  International Shoe v Washington, 326 US 310 (1945). Personal jurisdiction is generally waiveable, so if a party appears in a court without objecting to the court's lack of jurisdiction over it, that objection is forfeited.

 

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Political Question Doctrine

Federal courts will refuse to hear a case if they find it presents a political question.  This phrase is construed narrowly, and it does not stop courts from hearing cases about controversial issues like abortion, or politically important topics like campaign finance.  Rather, the Supreme Court has held that federal courts should not hear cases which deal directly with issues that Constitution makes the sole responsibility of the other branches of government.

 

Absolute disparity

Definition

A calculation used to analyze a claim that a jury pool did not represent a fair cross-section of the community. Calculated by subtracting the percentage of a group in the jury pool from the percentage of that group in the general population.

Illustrative caselaw

See, e.g. Berghuis v. Smith, 130 S.Ct. 1382 (2010).

 

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