Police powers: Powers possessed by states as part of their inherent sovereignty. These powers may be exercised to protect or promote the public order, health, safety, morals, and general welfare. Precedent: A court decision that furnishes an example or authority for deciding subsequent cases involving identical or similar facts. Preemption: A doctrine under which certain federal laws preempt, or take precedence over, conflicting state or local laws. Pretrial conference: A conference, scheduled before the trial begins, between the judge and the attorneys litigating the suit. The parties may settle the dispute, clarify the issues, schedule discovery, and so on during the conference. Pretrial motion: A written or oral application to a court for a ruling or order, made before trial. Principle of rights: The principle that human beings have certain fundamental rights (to life, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness, for example). Those who adhere to this “rights theory” believe that a key factor in determining whether a business decision is ethical is how that decision affects the rights of others. These others include the firm’s owners, its employees, the consumers of its products or services, its suppliers, the community in which it does business, and society as a whole. Privileges and immunities clause: Special rights and exceptions provided by law. Article IV, Section 2, of the Constitution requires states not to discriminate against one another’s citizens. A resident of one state cannot be treated as an alien when in another state; he or she may not be denied such privileges and immunities as legal protection, access to courts, travel rights, and property rights. Probable cause:Reasonable grounds to believe the existence of facts warranting certain actions, such as the search or arrest of a person. Probate court: A state court of limited jurisdiction that conducts proceedings relating to the settlement of a deceased person’s estate. Procedural law: Rules that define the manner in which the rights and duties of individuals may be enforced. Question of fact: In a lawsuit, an issue involving a factual dispute that can only be decided by a judge (or, in a jury trial, a jury). Question of law: In a lawsuit, an issue involving the application or interpretation of a law; therefore, the judge, and not the jury, decides the issue. Rebuttal: The refutation of evidence introduced by an adverse party’s attorney. Rejoinder: The defendant’s answer to the plaintiff’s rebuttal. Relevant evidence: Evidence tending to make a fact at issue in the case more or less probable than it would be without the evidence. Only relevant evidence is admissible in court. Remedy: The relief given to an innocent party to enforce a right or compensate for the violation of a right. Remedy at law: A remedy available in a court of law. Money damages are awarded as a remedy at law. Remedy in equity: A remedy allowed by courts in situations where remedies at law are not appropriate. Remedies in equity are based on settled rules of fairness, justice, and honesty, and include injunction, specific performance, rescission and restitution, and reformation. Rulemaking: The process undertaken by an administrative agency when formally adopting a new regulation or amending an old one. Rulemaking involves notifying the public of a proposed rule or change and receiving and considering the public’s comments. Rule of Four: A rule of the United States Supreme Court under which the Court will not issue a writ of certiorari unless at least four justices approve of the decision to issue the writ. Rules of evidence: Rules governing the admissibility of evidence in trial courts. Search warrant: An order granted by a public authority, such as a judge, that authorizes law enforcement personnel to search particular premises or property. Service of process: The delivery of the complaint and summons to a defendant. Small claims court: Special courts in which parties may litigate small claims (usually, claims involving $2,500 or less). Attorneys are not required in small claims courts, and in many states attorneys are not allowed to represent the parties. Standing to sue: The requirement that an individual must have a sufficient stake in a controversy before he or she can bring a lawsuit. The plaintiff must demonstrate that he or she either has been injured or threatened with injury. Stare Decisis: A common law doctrine under which judges are obligated to follow the precedents established in prior decisions. Statute of limitations: A federal or state statute setting the maximum time period during which a certain action can be brought or certain rights enforced. Statutory Law: The body of law enacted by legislative bodies (as opposed to constitutional law, administrative law, or case law). Stock buyback: Sometimes, publicly held companies use funds from their own treasuries to repurchase their own stock, with the result being that the price of the stock usually goes up. Stock options: A certificate that grants the owner the option to buy a given number of shares of stock, usually within a set time period. Submission: The act of referring a dispute to an arbitrator. Substantive law: Law that defines the rights and duties of individuals with respect to each other, as opposed to procedural law, which defines the manner in which these rights and duties may be enforced. Summary jury trial: A method of settling disputes in which a trial is held, but the jury’s verdict is not binding. The verdict acts only as a guide to both sides in reaching an agreement during the mandatory negotiations that immediately follow the summary jury trial. Summons: A document informing a defendant that a legal action has been commenced against him or her and that the defendant must appear in court on a certain date to answer the plaintiff’s complaint. The document is delivered by a sheriff or any other person so authorized. Supremacy Clause: The provision in Article VI of the Constitution that provides that the Constitution, laws, and treaties of the United States are “the supreme Law of the Land.” Under this clause, state and local laws that directly conflict with federal law will be rendered invalid. Symbolic speech: Nonverbal conduct that expresses opinions or thoughts about a subject. Symbolic speech is protected under the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech. Uniform law: A model law created by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws and/or the American Law Institute for the states to consider adopting. If the state adopts the law, it becomes statutory law in that state. Each state has the option of adopting or rejecting all or part of the law. Utilitarianism: An approach to ethical reasoning in which ethically correct behavior is not related to any absolute ethical or moral values but to an evaluation of the consequences of a given action on those who will be affected by it. In utilitarian reasoning, a “good” decision is one that results in the greatest good for the greatest number of people affected by the decision. Venue: The geographical district in which an action is tried and from which the jury is selected. Verdict: A formal decision made by a jury. Voir dire: A French phrase meaning, literally, “to see, to speak.” In jury trials, the phrase refers to the process in which the attorneys question prospective jurors to determine whether they are biased or have any connection with a party to the action or with a prospective witness. Writ of certiorari: A writ from a higher court asking the lower court for the record of a case. Writ of execution: A court’s order, after a judgment has been entered against the debtor, directing the sheriff to seize (levy) and sell any of the debtor’s nonexempt real or personal property. The proceeds of the sale are used to pay off the judgment, accrued interest, and costs of the sale; any surplus is paid to the debtor.