appellate procedure

Martin v. Hunter's Lessee (1816)

Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee (1816), is a Supreme Court case that established the Supreme Court’s authority over state courts in matters of federal law.

The plaintiff in this case, Martin, sued the defendant, Hunter’s Lessee, in Virginia State...


When a party makes a motion in a case, that party is called the movant. For example, if a plaintiff in a civil case moves for summary judgment, the plaintiff is the movant.

Moving Party

A term which refers to a party in a case who is making a motion. For example, if a plaintiff in a civil case moves for summary judgment, the plaintiff is considered the moving party. This term is interchangeable with movant. A non-movant is a party who...

Obiter dicta

See Obiter Dictum.

Obiter dictum

Latin for "something said in passing."

A comment, suggestion, or observation made by a judge in an opinion that is not necessary to resolve the case, and as such, it is not legally binding on other courts but may still be cited as persuasive...


With respect to law, “opinion” primarily refers to a judicial opinion, which is a court’s written statement explaining the court’s decision for the case. The opinion usually contains the following elements: name of the judge who wrote the opinion,...

Original jurisdiction


A court's power to hear and decide a case before any appellate review. A trial court must necessarily have original jurisdiction over the types of cases it hears.


Nearly all of the cases considered by the U.S. Supreme Court...


Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary1) A trial judge's decision to reject a party's objection--often, to a question for a witness or the admission of evidence. By overruling the objection, the judge allows the question or evidence in court...


The petitioner is the party who presents a petition to the court. On appeal, the petitioner is usually the party who lost in the lower court. This can be either the plaintiff or defendant from the court below, as either of the parties can present the...

plain error

Plain error is error that is plainly evident from the record and affects a litigant's substantial right(s). Although an appellate court generally only reviews errors brought to its attention by the litigants, it has the discretion to correct...