the Constitution



When a party loses in a court of law, it is often allowed to appeal the decision to a higher court. In some instances, parties are entitled to an appeal, as a matter of right. However, sometimes a party is not able to appeal as a matter of...


Refers to the highways, waterways, and air traffic of the country. Compare with instrumentalities.

Chinese Exclusion Act

The Chinese Exclusion Act, signed into law on May 6, 1882, by President Chester A. Arthur, effectively terminated Chinese immigration for ten years and prohibited Chinese from becoming US citizens. All Chinese persons- except travelers, merchants,...

Church and State

Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary

See: separation of church and state

Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.

Circuit Riding

Many years ago, judges would often travel between the towns within a judicial district (previously known as a circuit) to hear cases in each town. The practice has largely discontinued.

Circuit Split

When two or more circuits in the United States court of appeals reach opposite interpretations of federal law. This is sometimes a reason for the Supreme Court to grant certiorari.


A citizen is a person who, by place of birth, nationality of one or both parents, or naturalization is granted full rights and responsibilities as a member of a nation or political community.

Citizen's Arrest

A citizen’s arrest is an arrest made by any person instead of by a police officer. In tort law, a citizen's arrest is something that any person can do without being held civilly liable for interfering with another person’s interests when that...

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010)

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission is the 2010 Supreme Court case that held that the free speech clause of the First Amendment prohibits the government from limiting independent expenditures on political campaigns by...


In reference to law, “civil” is used primarily as a descriptive term to denote conflicts between private individuals. Where in a civil case two or more individuals or private entities (such as corporations) dispute their rights relative to...