Terms Glossary

GoodParty.org's Terms Glossary is a list of definitions of words from the political and elections world. These terms are from an independent's perspective with an eye toward reform. If you have a suggestion for a new definition, send it to ask@goodparty.org.


Definition and meaning of Jingoism: Jingoism is an extreme form of nationalism characterized by an aggressive foreign policy and a belief in the superiority of one’s own nation over all others. It is often associated with chauvinism, or an attitude of superiority toward other nations, and with a disregard for the rights of others. Jingoism is often seen as a tool of political parties to gain support from constituents, or as a way of appealing to the public’s sense of patriotism. It is used to rally people behind a particular political agenda and can be seen as a way of dividing the population along partisan lines. In the United States, jingoism has been used to support both major political parties, as well as independent candidates, in order to gain votes. This can lead to an increasing polarization of the population and a further entrenchment of the two-party system, limiting the voices of independent candidates and reformers.

Joint Committee

Definition and meaning of joint committee: A joint committee is a legislative body composed of members from both the House of Representatives and the Senate. This type of committee is formed to consider bills and other matters that need the approval of both houses of Congress. The joint committee is a powerful tool for creating consensus in the legislative process, as it is composed of members from both major parties. For example, the Joint Committee on Taxation is a joint committee that is responsible for providing Congress with nonpartisan analyses and estimates of the revenue effects of proposed tax legislation. Joint committees are composed of members from both the House of Representatives and the Senate, and as such, are inherently less independent than single-house committees. This can limit their effectiveness in producing meaningful reform.

Judicial Activism

Definition and meaning of judicial activism: Judicial activism is a term used to describe the practice of judges making decisions based on their personal beliefs or values, rather than on the grounds of existing laws. This means that judges are taking a more active role in interpreting the laws and making decisions based on their own individual values and beliefs. Judicial activism is a controversial issue because it gives judges the power to make decisions that may not be in line with the laws passed by legislatures and the will of the people. Examples of judicial activism can be seen in cases where the Supreme Court has made decisions that overturned or modified laws that had been passed by Congress. For example, the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade struck down state laws that made abortion illegal, while the decision in Obergefell v. Hodges granted same-sex couples the right to marry. In both cases, the Court made decisions based on their interpretation of the Constitution, rather than on existing laws passed by legislatures. Reform-minded individuals often advocate for judicial activism, as it can be a way for the courts to provide a check on the power of legislatures, and to ensure that the rights and freedoms of individuals are not violated. However, opponents of judicial activism argue that it can be used to undermine the will of the people, and can lead to an erosion of democracy.

Judicial District

Definition and meaning of judicial district: A judicial district is an administrative division of a state or country that is responsible for the administration of justice. Judicial districts are typically divided into smaller districts, counties, or other jurisdictions. Each district is responsible for the adjudication of cases within its own boundaries. In the United States, judicial districts are established by Congress as part of the federal judicial system.

Judicial districts are intended to provide equal access to justice by allowing residents to bring cases to court in their own geographic area. In addition, these districts allow for the efficient handling of cases by limiting the number of courts and judges overseeing the same area. Judicial districts also help to ensure that a fair and impartial justice system is available to all citizens. Unfortunately, the two-party system in American politics often leads to partisan gerrymandering in judicial districts, resulting in unequal representation in the courts. In order to address this issue, reform-minded advocates have called for the creation of independent courts, as well as for the establishment of more independent candidates in judicial districts. This would help to ensure that all residents of a judicial district are represented fairly, regardless of political leanings.

Judicial Offices

Definition and meaning of judicial offices: Judicial offices refer to the positions that are responsible for interpreting and applying the laws in the United States. These positions include judges at all levels of the court system, from the Supreme Court down to the local courts.

Judicial offices are often seen as important gatekeepers of the legal system and are expected to be impartial and fair in their decision-making. However, there have been concerns about the influence of politics on the judicial system, particularly when it comes to the appointment of judges.

For independent and third party supporters, the appointment of judges can be a key issue. This is because judges are often appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, which means that they are often affiliated with one of the major political parties. This can create a situation where judges are more likely to favor the interests of their party over the interests of the general public.

According to data from the Federal Judicial Center, there is a significant bias towards the two major parties in the appointment of judges. For example, between 1789 and 2021, 85% of federal judges were appointed by a President from the same party as the appointing President. This suggests that there is a significant lack of diversity and independence in the judicial system.

By encouraging independent and third-party candidates to seek judicial office and by supporting their efforts to participate in the political process, we can create a more diverse and representative legal system that works for everyone. This can help to ensure that the courts are more impartial and accountable to the public, rather than being swayed by the interests of the two major parties.

Judicial Review

Definition and meaning of judicial review: Judicial review is the power of an independent judiciary to review laws passed by the executive and legislative branches of government to determine their constitutionality. It is an important element of the system of checks and balances that preserve democratic ideals. Judicial review is the ultimate safeguard against tyranny, as it allows the courts to determine if a law is in conflict with the Constitution and therefore void. This is important for a system of government that values individual rights and freedoms, as it helps to ensure that those rights are not trampled upon. For example, when the president signs an executive order that conflicts with the rights of the people, the courts can step in and declare the order unconstitutional. Similarly, when a legislative body passes a law that violates the rights of citizens, the courts can step in and overturn the law. In both instances, judicial review is the tool that enables the courts to protect the rights of citizens and ensure that the government remains accountable to the people. The judicial review process is an important part of maintaining a system of government that values individual rights and freedoms. It is also a powerful tool for those advocating for more independent candidates and an end to the two-party system. By allowing the courts to review the laws passed by the executive and legislative branches, it helps to ensure that the rights of citizens are not violated and that the government remains accountable to the people.

Jungle Primary

Definition and meaning of jungle primary: A jungle primary is a nonpartisan primary election in which all candidates, regardless of party affiliation, compete against one another. This type of primary system is often used in states or districts that have a high number of independents, or where the majority of the electorate does not identify with a particular party. In a jungle primary, the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, move on to the general election. Jungle primaries are seen as an alternative to the traditional two-party system and can help to promote reform-minded candidates. By eliminating the political party filter, they can open up the political process to a greater number of candidates, and potentially create a more competitive landscape. This type of primary system also encourages candidates to focus on issues rather than party identification, as they must appeal to a wider range of voters. Jungle primaries are often seen as a way to reduce the influence of special interest groups, as candidates are incentivized to focus on the issues that matter most to the electorate. This type of primary system can also serve to increase voter turnout, as candidates are not limited to only their own party's constituents. Ultimately, jungle primaries are designed to encourage a more open and competitive political process, one that is more representative of the general population.

Justice of the Peace

Definition and meaning of Justice of the Peace: A Justice of the Peace (JP) is an elected or appointed official that serves as an impartial arbiter in local and state affairs. JPs preside over a variety of civil and criminal matters, such as marriage ceremonies, oaths, legal disputes, and traffic court. The role of JPs is to ensure that proceedings are conducted in a just and impartial manner. The position of Justice of the Peace is one of the oldest in American government and is required in many states. As the two-party system continues to dominate American politics, the role of Justice of the Peace has become increasingly important. JPs are independent of the two major political parties and are able to offer a more impartial perspective on matters of justice. This can be beneficial in both criminal and civil proceedings. In many states, JPs are elected by the public and, as a result, can offer an alternative to the status quo. Moreover, JPs often serve as a bridge between the judicial and legislative branches of government, providing a more direct link between the public and their elected officials. In summary, Justice of the Peace is an important position in the American political system. It is a more independent role, which allows for a more impartial and equitable approach to justice in both civil and criminal matters. Additionally, JPs can serve as a bridge between the public and their elected officials, offering a more direct connection to the people they serve.