petition


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Petition

A written application from a person or persons to some governing body or public official asking that some authority be exercised to grant relief, favors, or privileges.

A formal application made to a court in writing that requests action on a certain matter.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees to the people the right to petition the government for the redress of grievances. Petitions are also used to collect signatures to enable a candidate to get on a ballot or put an issue before the electorate. Petitions can serve as a way of pressuring elected officials to adhere to the position expressed by the petitioners.

The right to petition the government for correction of public grievances derives from the English Magna Charta of 1215 and the English Bill of Rights of 1689. One of the colonists' objections to British rule before the American Revolution was the king's refusal to act on their petitions of redress. The Founders attempted to address this concern with the First Amendment, which affirms the right of the people to petition their government. Almost all states adopted similar guarantees of petition in their own constitutions.

Between 1836 and 1840, abolitionists collected the signatures of two million people on petitions against Slavery and sent them to the U.S. House of Representatives. In the early twentieth century, states passed laws allowing initiative (the proposing of legislation by the people) and recall (an election to decide whether an elected official should be removed from office). Both processes start with the collection of a minimum number of signatures on a petition. Small political parties often use petitions to collect signatures to enable their candidates to be placed on the election ballot.

Petitions are also directed to courts of law and administrative agencies and boards. A petition may be made ex parte (without the presence of the opposing party) where there are no parties in opposition. For example, the executor of an estate may file a petition with the probate court requesting approval to sell property that belongs to the estate or trust.

In contested matters, however, the opposing party must be served with the petition and be given the opportunity to appear in court to argue the merits of the issues it contains. A prisoner may file a petition for a writ of Habeas Corpus, in which the prisoner requests a hearing to determine whether he or she is entitled to be released from custody because of unconstitutional or illegal actions by the government. The prisoner must serve the government office that prosecuted him or her with a copy of the petition. The writ of habeas corpus, like many other types of writs, is discretionary; the court is free to deny the petition.

petition

1) n. a formal written request to a court for an order of the court. It is distinguished from a complaint in a lawsuit which asks for damages and/or performance by the opposing party. Petitions include demands for writs, orders to show cause, modifications of prior orders, continuances, dismissal of a case, reduction of bail in criminal cases, a decree of distribution of an estate, appointment of a guardian, and a host of other matters arising in legal actions. 2) a general term for a writing signed by a number of people asking for a particular result from a private governing body (such as a homeowners association, a political party, or a club). 3) in public law a petition may be required to place a proposition or ordinance on the ballot, nominate a person for public office, or demand a recall election. Such petitions for official action must be signed by a specified number of registered voters (such as five percent). 4) v. making a formal request of a court, presenting a written request to an organization's governing body signed by one or more members. 5) in some states a suit for divorce is entitled a petition, and the parties are called petitioner and respondent. (See: motion, writ, divorce, petitioner)

petition

noun adjuration, application, bid, call for aid, demand, earnest request, entreaty, formal writing emmodying a request, formal written plea, formal written reeuest, invocation, libellus, motion, plea, prayer, request, reeuest for relief, requisition, solemn request, written application for relief
Associated concepts: affidavit, ex parte petiiion, filing of petition, order dismissing a petition, petition for a name change, petition for divorce, verified petition, voluntary petition in bankruptcy

petition

verb adjure, advocate, appeal for, apply for, apply to, ask for, beseech, bid, call upon, clamor for, entreat earnestly, file for, formally urge, implorare, implore, make a requisition, make application, make deeands, make written application, obtest, plead, pray for, prefer a request to, request, requisition, rogare, seek, solemnly request, solicit, urge
Associated concepts: petition for a rehearing, petition for a writ of certiorari, petition for a writ of mandamus, petition for a writ of prohibition, petition for redress, petition for reeoval, petition for review
See also: appeal, application, apply, bill, call, canvass, claim, complaint, cross-examine, demand, entreaty, implore, importune, invitation, motion, move, plead, pray, prayer, press, request, requisition, solicit, sue, suit

petition

a formal application in writing made to a court asking for some specific judicial action. In Scotland there is a technical distinction between a petition and a summons.

PETITION. An instrument of writing or printing containing a prayer from the person presenting it, called the petitioner, to the body or person to whom it is presented, for the redress of some wrong, or the grant of some favor, which the latter has the right to give.
     2. By the constitution of the United States the right "to petition the government for a redress of grievances," is secured to the people. Amend. Art. 1.
     3. Petitions are frequently presented to the courts in order to bring some matters before them. It is a general rule, in such cases, that an affidavit should be made that the facts therein contained are true as far as known to the petitioner, and that those facts which he states as knowing from others be believes to be true.

References in classic literature ?
A monster petition praying that the holding back from the laborer of any portion of the net value produced by his labor be declared a felony.
I had sent so many memorials and petitions for my liberty, that his majesty at length mentioned the matter, first in the cabinet, and then in a full council; where it was opposed by none, except Skyresh Bolgolam, who was pleased, without any provocation, to be my mortal enemy.
The best thing I can do will be to certify the truth of the contents of your petition.
So finding his young auditors unanimous in their petition, the good old gentleman took up the narrative of the historic chair at the point where he had dropped it.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
I remember, in the beginning of Queen Elizabeth's time of England, an Irish rebel condemned, put up a petition to the deputy, that he might be hanged in a withe, and not in an halter; because it had been so used, with former rebels.
But next day (it was in autumn and the nights were already cold) on going out for water he saw the same mother with her son, a pale boy of fourteen, and was met by the same petition.
AN ASS, belonging to an herb-seller who gave him too little food and too much work made a petition to Jupiter to be released from his present service and provided with another master.
Poor Marilla was only preserved from complete collapse by remembering that it was not irreverence, but simply spiritual ignorance on the part of Anne that was responsible for this extraordinary petition.
This done, the draft of the proposed petition was read at length: and the petition said, as all petitions DO say, that the petitioners were very humble, and the petitioned very honourable, and the object very virtuous; therefore (said the petition) the bill ought to be passed into a law at once, to the everlasting honour and glory of that most honourable and glorious Commons of England in Parliament assembled.
It is not my business to be petitioning the Governor or the Legislature any more than it is theirs to petition me; and if they should not hear my petition, what should I do then?
My lord has thoughts of our walking in procession through the streets--just as an innocent display of strength--and accompanying our petition down to the door of the House of Commons.