government

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010)

The U.S. Supreme Court decision in which the Court eased restrictions on political and campaign spending by corporations and labor unions, ruling that such restrictions infringe upon the organizations' First Amendment free speech rights. The decision drew sharp criticism from across the political spectrum; President Barack Obama commented on it in his 2010 State of the Union address while justices in the audience looked on.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

The web of policies, laws, and regulations governing how the U.S. military deals with gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members. Under this policy, the military cannot ask about -- and service members cannot be compelled to reveal -- a service member's sexual orientation. Service members can be discharged if they make statements indicating that they are homosexual or bisexual or indicating that they have engaged in (or intend to engage in) homosexual acts.

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

Also known as the Stimulus Package or Recovery Act, a federal law intended to jumpstart the struggling economy by creating new jobs and saving existing ones, spurring investment, and fostering accountability and transparency in government spending. The package contained extensive funding for science, engineering research, and infrastructure, and smaller amounts for education, social sciences, and the arts. The Act has its own website, www.recovery.gov.

Feres Doctrine

A legal doctrine that prevents people who are injured as a result of military service from successfully suing the federal government under the Federal Tort Claims Act. The doctrine comes from the U.S. Supreme Court case Feres v. United States, in which servicemen who picked up highly radioactive weapons fragments from a crashed airplane were not permitted to recover damages from the government. Also known as the Feres-Stencel doctrine or the Feres rule.

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