military law

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.

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.

Martial Law

Military control over all of a country's activities, usually during wartime or due to an emergency or widespread disaster. In the United States, martial law must be ordered by the president as commander-in-chief and must be limited to the duration of the warfare or emergency. In many foreign countries, martial law has become a method to establish and maintain dictatorships either by military leaders or politicians backed by the military. Compare: military law

judge advocate

A military officer who is part of the Judge Advocate General's Corps. The Corps is the judicial arm of each of the U.S. armed forces. Judge advocates are charged with upholding military law, as contained in the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Officers of the Corps are the chief officers in courts-martial and military courts of inquiry. Judge advocates also provide legal services to servicemembers, and advise commanders on the laws concerning armed combat.


1) To finish, carry out, or perform as required, as in fulfilling one's obligations under a contract, plan, or court order. 2) To complete and otherwise make valid a document, such as a will, deed, or contract, for example by signing it and having it notarized. 3) To put someone to death pursuant to a court-rendered sentence (capital punishment). 4) To murder or assassinate.


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