family & personal matters

Cruzan v. Missouri Department of Health (1990)

The U.S. Supreme Court case in which the Court held that family members could not refuse life-sustaining medical treatment -- such as a feeding tube -- on behalf of incompetent patients, absent clear and convincing evidence that the refusal was in accordance with the patients' wishes.

Egelhoff v. Egelhoff (2001)

U.S. Supreme Court decision in which the Court ruled that a woman who was named as the beneficiary of her former husband's 401(k) plan was entitled to inherit the money in the plan, even though state law said that the divorce had automatically revoked her right to inherit. Because a 401(k) plan is ruled by federal law (ERISA), it overruled the state law.

temporary restraining order (TRO)

An order that tells one person to stop harassing or harming another, issued after the person being harassed appears before a judge or submits appropriate paperwork. A few days or weeks after the TRO is issued, the court holds a second hearing where the person being restrained can argue to the judge and the court can decide whether to make the TRO permanent by issuing an injunction. In domestic violence situations, the police tend to be more willing to intervene if there's a TRO in place and the abused spouse can show the other spouse is violating it.

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