Glossary of American Constitutional Law

abstention: A doctrine that holds that federal courts should not decide issues involving the interpretation of state law until the state's highest court has issued a decision on the question.    

acquittal: A finding that a criminal defendant is not guilty.    

admiralty: A law or court that pertains to the law of the sea and maritime concerns.    

advisory opinion: An opinion by a court issued in a hypothetical or nonadversarial context, or in the absence of a concrete case or controversy.    

Three Sides to the Abortion Debate

To what extent does a woman have a right to obtain an abortion? And to what extent does a person have a right to PROTEST the practice of abortion? These two fundamental questions and two conflicting rights emerged in the decades following the U.S. Supreme Court's controversial decision in the 1973 case ROE V. WADE (410 U.S. 113, 93 S. Ct. 705, 35 L. Ed. 2d 147). With time, the conflict between those who differed on the answers to these questions, and the interpretation of these rights, became more intense and at times even violent.