In the colloquial sense, a petition is a document addressed to some official and signed by numerous individuals. A petition may be oral rather than written, or may be transmitted via the Internet.
Petition can also be the title of a legal pleading that initiates a legal case. The initial pleading in a civil lawsuit that seeks only money (damages) might be called (in most U.S. courts) a complaint. An initial pleading in a lawsuit that seeks non-monetary or "equitable" relief, such as a request for a writ of mandamus or habeas corpus, custody of a child, or probate of a will, is instead called a petition.
Act on petition is a "summary process" used in probate, ecclesiastical and divorce cases, designed to handle matters which are too complex for simple motion. The parties in a case exchange pleadings until a cause for a hearing is settled. Black's Law Dictionary specifies it as an obsolete method used in admiralty cases. In the United States, the "act on petition" has been used in maritime cases.
In pre-modern Imperial China petitions were always sent to an Office of Transmission (Tongzheng si or 通政司) where court secretaries read petitions aloud to the emperor. Petitions could be sent by anybody, from a scholar-official to a common farmer, although the petitions were more likely read to the emperor if they were persuasive enough to impeach questionable and corrupt local officials from office. When petitions arrived to the throne, multiple copies were made of the original and stored with the Office of Supervising Secretaries before the original written petition was sent to the emperor.
The emergence of petitioning during the reign of Edward I of England (1272-1307) contributed to beginnings of legislative power for the Parliament of England. Petitions became a common form of protest and request to the British House of Commons in the 18th and 19th centuries; one million petitions were submitted to the UK's parliament between 1780 and 1918. The largest was the Great/People's Charter, or petition of the Chartists.
The Petition Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right of the people "to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." The right to petition has been held to include the right to file lawsuits against the government.
Petitions are commonly used in the U.S. to qualify candidates for public office to appear on a ballot; while anyone can be a write-in candidate, a candidate desiring that his or her name appear on printed ballots and other official election materials must gather a certain number of valid signatures from registered voters. In jurisdictions whose laws allow for ballot initiatives, the gathering of a sufficient number of voter signatures qualilfies a proposed initiative to be placed on the ballot. The 2003 California recall election, which culminated in the recall of Governor Gray Davis and the election of Arnold Schwarzenegger, began when U.S. Representative Darrell Issa employed paid signature gatherers who obtained millions of signatures at a cost to Issa of millions of dollars. Once the requisite number of signatures was obtained on the recall petition, other petitions were circulated by would-be candidates who wanted to appear on the ballot as possible replacements for Davis. After that step, a vote on the recall was scheduled.
Other types of petitions include those that sought to free Nelson Mandela during his imprisonment by the former apartheid government of South Africa. The petitions had no legal effect, but the signatures of millions of people on the petitions represented a moral force that may have helped free Mandela and end apartheid. Non-governmental organizations such as Amnesty International often use petitions in an attempt to exert moral authority in support of various causes. Other nongovernmental subjects of petition drives include corporate personnel decisions. In the United Kingdom, a petition to the parliament in 1990 against ambulance service cuts attracted 4.5 million signatures. Today, petitions in Britain are often presented through the UK Parliament petitions website, the forerunner of which was set up in 2006. Such online petitions are a new form of a petition becoming commonplace in the 21st century. Change.org was founded in 2007 and became the world's most popular online petition platform with around 50 million registered users.
Recent research by the sociocultural psychologist, Chana Etengoff, has highlighted the therapeutic benefits of petitioning including meaning-making, social action, agency and empowerment.
Access2Research is a campaign in the United States for academic journal publishing reform led by open access advocates Michael W. Carroll, Heather Joseph, Mike Rossner, and John Wilbanks.On May 20, 2012, it launched a petition to the White House to "require free access over the Internet to journal articles arising from taxpayer-funded research". The White House has committed to issue an official response to such petitions if they reach 25,000 signatures within 30 days. Access2Research reached this milestone within two weeks. On February 22, 2013, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and announced an executive directive ordering all US Federal Agencies with research & development budgets over $100M to develop public access policies within twelve months.
The petition builds on previous campaigns asking scholars, publishers, funders, governments and the general public to remove paywalls to publicly funded scholarly research. It follows initiatives previously targeted at academics such as The Cost of Knowledge calling for lower prices for scholarly journals and to promote increased access to scientific information. The campaign refers to the NIH Public Access Policy as an example of a mandate that should be expanded to all federally funded research.Certiorari
Certiorari is a court process to seek judicial review of a decision of a lower court or administrative agency. The term comes from the name of an English prerogative writ, issued by a superior court to direct that the record of the lower court be sent to the superior court for review.
Certiorari was inherited as part of English common law by the countries in the Commonwealth of Nations and by the United States. It has subsequently evolved in the legal system of each nation, as court decisions and statutory amendments are made. In modern law, certiorari is recognized in many jurisdictions, including England and Wales (now called "quashing order"), Canada, India, Ireland, the Philippines and the United States. With the expansion of administrative law in the 19th and 20th centuries, the writ of certiorari has gained broader use in many countries, to review the decisions of administrative bodies as well as lower courts.Change.org
Change.org is a petition website operated by for-profit Change.org, Inc., an American certified B corporation which claims to have over 240 million users and hosts sponsored campaigns for organizations. The company is headquartered in San Francisco, California. The website serves to facilitate petitions by the general public.Previously corporations including Virgin America, and organizations such as Amnesty International and the Humane Society, paid the site to host and promote their petitions. Change.org's stated mission is to "empower people everywhere to create the change they want to see." Popular topics of Change.org petitions are economic and criminal justice, human rights, education, environmental protection, animals rights, health, and sustainable food.Dihydrogen monoxide parody
The dihydrogen monoxide parody involves calling water by the unfamiliar chemical name "dihydrogen monoxide" (DHMO), or "hydroxylic acid" in some cases, and listing some of water's well-known effects in a particularly alarming manner, such as accelerating corrosion and causing suffocation. The parody often calls for dihydrogen monoxide to be banned, regulated, or labeled as dangerous. It illustrates how a lack of scientific literacy and an exaggerated analysis can lead to misplaced fears.Discharge petition
In United States parliamentary procedure, a discharge petition is a means of bringing a bill out of committee and to the floor for consideration without a report from the committee by "discharging" the committee from further consideration of a bill or resolution.Discharge petitions are most often associated with the U.S. House of Representatives, though many state legislatures in the United States have similar procedures. There, discharge petitions are used when the chair of a committee refuses to place a bill or resolution on the Committee's agenda: by never reporting a bill, the matter will never leave the committee, and the full House will not be able to consider it. The discharge petition, and the threat of one, gives more power to individual members of the House and usurps a small amount of power from the leadership and committee chairs. In the U.S. House, successful discharge petitions are rare, as the signatures of an absolute majority of House members are required.First Amendment to the United States Constitution
The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution prevents the government from making laws which respect an establishment of religion, prohibit the free exercise of religion, or abridge the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press, the right to peaceably assemble, or the right to petition the government for redress of grievances. It was adopted on December 15, 1791, as one of the ten amendments that constitute the Bill of Rights.
The Bill of Rights was originally proposed to assuage Anti-Federalist opposition to Constitutional ratification. Initially, the First Amendment applied only to laws enacted by the Congress, and many of its provisions were interpreted more narrowly than they are today. Beginning with Gitlow v. New York (1925), the Supreme Court applied the First Amendment to states—a process known as incorporation—through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
In Everson v. Board of Education (1947), the Court drew on Thomas Jefferson's correspondence to call for "a wall of separation between church and State", though the precise boundary of this separation remains in dispute. Speech rights were expanded significantly in a series of 20th and 21st-century court decisions which protected various forms of political speech, anonymous speech, campaign financing, pornography, and school speech; these rulings also defined a series of exceptions to First Amendment protections. The Supreme Court overturned English common law precedent to increase the burden of proof for defamation and libel suits, most notably in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (1964). Commercial speech, however, is less protected by the First Amendment than political speech, and is therefore subject to greater regulation.
The Free Press Clause protects publication of information and opinions, and applies to a wide variety of media. In Near v. Minnesota (1931) and New York Times v. United States (1971), the Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment protected against prior restraint—pre-publication censorship—in almost all cases. The Petition Clause protects the right to petition all branches and agencies of government for action. In addition to the right of assembly guaranteed by this clause, the Court has also ruled that the amendment implicitly protects freedom of association.Frédéric Bastiat
Claude-Frédéric Bastiat (; French: [klod fʁedeʁik bastja]; 29 June 1801 – 24 December 1850) was a French economist, writer and a prominent member of the French Liberal School.A Freemason and a member of the French National Assembly, Bastiat developed the economic concept of opportunity cost and introduced the parable of the broken window.As an advocate of classical economics and the economics of Adam Smith, his views favored a free market and influenced the Austrian School.Habeas corpus
Habeas corpus ( (listen); Medieval Latin meaning "[we, a Court, command] that you have the body [of the detainee brought before us]") is a recourse in law through which a person can report an unlawful detention or imprisonment to a court and request that the court order the custodian of the person, usually a prison official, to bring the prisoner to court, to determine whether the detention is lawful.The writ of habeas corpus is known as the "great and efficacious writ in all manner of illegal confinement". It is a summons with the force of a court order; it is addressed to the custodian (a prison official, for example) and demands that a prisoner be brought before the court, and that the custodian present proof of authority, allowing the court to determine whether the custodian has lawful authority to detain the prisoner. If the custodian is acting beyond his or her authority, then the prisoner must be released. Any prisoner, or another person acting on his or her behalf, may petition the court, or a judge, for a writ of habeas corpus. One reason for the writ to be sought by a person other than the prisoner is that the detainee might be held incommunicado. Most civil law jurisdictions provide a similar remedy for those unlawfully detained, but this is not always called habeas corpus. For example, in some Spanish-speaking nations, the equivalent remedy for unlawful imprisonment is the amparo de libertad ("protection of freedom").
Habeas corpus has certain limitations. Though a writ of right, it is not a writ of course. It is technically only a procedural remedy; it is a guarantee against any detention that is forbidden by law, but it does not necessarily protect other rights, such as the entitlement to a fair trial. So if an imposition such as internment without trial is permitted by the law, then habeas corpus may not be a useful remedy. In some countries, the writ has been temporarily or permanently suspended under the pretext of war or state of emergency.The right to petition for a writ of habeas corpus has nonetheless long been celebrated as the most efficient safeguard of the liberty of the subject. The jurist Albert Venn Dicey wrote that the British Habeas Corpus Acts "declare no principle and define no rights, but they are for practical purposes worth a hundred constitutional articles guaranteeing individual liberty".The writ of habeas corpus is one of what are called the "extraordinary", "common law", or "prerogative writs", which were historically issued by the English courts in the name of the monarch to control inferior courts and public authorities within the kingdom. The most common of the other such prerogative writs are quo warranto, prohibito, mandamus, procedendo, and certiorari. The due process for such petitions is not simply civil or criminal, because they incorporate the presumption of non-authority. The official who is the respondent must prove his authority to do or not do something. Failing this, the court must decide for the petitioner, who may be any person, not just an interested party. This differs from a motion in a civil process in which the movant must have standing, and bears the burden of proof.Initiative
In political science, an initiative (also known as a popular or citizens' initiative) is a means by which a petition signed by a certain minimum number of registered voters can force a government to choose to either enact a law or hold a public vote in parliament in what is called indirect initiative, or under direct initiative, the proposition is immediately put to a plebiscite or referendum, in what is called a Popular initiated Referendum or citizen-initiated referendum).
In an indirect initiative, a measure is first referred to the legislature, and then put to a popular vote only if not enacted by the legislature. If the initiative (citizen-proposed law) is rejected by the parliament, the government may be forced to see the proposition put to a referendum. The initiative may then take the form of a direct initiative or an indirect initiative.
In a direct initiative, a measure is put directly to a referendum.
The vote may be on a proposed federal level, statute, constitutional amendment, charter amendment or local ordinance, or to simply oblige the executive or legislature to consider the subject by submitting it to the order of the day. It is a form of direct democracy.Legality of cannabis
The legality of cannabis for medical and recreational use varies by country, in terms of its possession, distribution, and cultivation, and (in regards to medical) how it can be consumed and what medical conditions it can be used for. These policies in most countries are regulated by the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs that was ratified in 1961, along with the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the 1988 Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.The use of cannabis for recreational purposes is prohibited in most countries; however, many have adopted a policy of decriminalization to make simple possession a non-criminal offense (often similar to a minor traffic violation). Others have much more severe penalties such as some Asian and Middle Eastern countries where possession of even small amounts is punished by imprisonment for several years.Uruguay and Canada are the only sovereign states that have fully legalized the consumption and sale of recreational cannabis nationwide. In the United States, ten states and the District of Columbia have legalized the recreational use of cannabis although it remains federally illegal. Laws vary from state to state when it comes to the commercial sale. Court rulings in Georgia and South Africa have led to the legalization of cannabis consumption, but not legal sales. A policy of limited enforcement has also been adopted in many countries, in particular Spain and the Netherlands where the sale of cannabis is tolerated at licensed establishments.Countries that have legalized the medical use of cannabis include Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Finland, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, North Macedonia, Norway, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Poland, Switzerland, and Thailand. Others have more restrictive laws that only allow the use of certain cannabis-derived pharmaceutical drugs, such as Sativex, Marinol, or Epidiolex. In the United States, 33 states and the District of Columbia have legalized the medical use of cannabis, but at the federal level its use remains prohibited for any purpose.Lord's Prayer
The Lord's Prayer, also called the Our Father (Latin, Pater Noster), is a venerated Christian prayer which, according to the New Testament, Jesus taught as the way to pray:
Pray then in this way ... (Matthew 6:9 NRSV)
When you pray, say ... (Luke 11:2 NRSV)Two versions of this prayer are recorded in the gospels: a longer form within the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew, and a shorter form in the Gospel of Luke when "one of his disciples said to him, 'Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.'" (Luke 11:1 NRSV). Lutheran theologian Harold Buls suggested that both were original, the Matthean version spoken by Jesus early in his ministry in Galilee, and the Lucan version one year later, "very likely in Judea".The first three of the seven petitions in Matthew address God; the other four are related to human needs and concerns. The Matthew account alone includes the "Your will be done" and the "Rescue us from the evil one" (or "Deliver us from evil") petitions. Both original Greek texts contain the adjective epiousios, which does not appear in any other classical or Koine Greek literature; while controversial, "daily" has been the most common English-language translation of this word. Protestants usually conclude the prayer with a doxology, a later addendum appearing in some manuscripts of Matthew.
Initial words on the topic from the Catechism of the Catholic Church teach that it "is truly the summary of the whole gospel". The prayer is used by most Christian churches in their worship; with few exceptions, the liturgical form is the Matthean. Although theological differences and various modes of worship divide Christians, according to Fuller Seminary professor Clayton Schmit, "there is a sense of solidarity in knowing that Christians around the globe are praying together ... and these words always unite us."In biblical criticism, the prayer's absence in the Gospel of Mark together with its occurrence in Matthew and Luke has caused scholars who accept the two-source hypothesis (against other document hypotheses) to conclude that it is probably a logion original to Q.Mandamus
Mandamus (; lit. 'we command') is a judicial remedy in the form of an order from a court to any government, subordinate court, corporation, or public authority, to do (or forbear from doing) some specific act which that body is obliged under law to do (or refrain from doing), and which is in the nature of public duty, and in certain cases one of a statutory duty. It cannot be issued to compel an authority to do something against statutory provision. For example, it cannot be used to force a lower court to reject or authorize applications that have been made, but if the court refuses to rule one way or the other then a mandamus can be used to order the court to rule on the applications.
Mandamus may be a command to do an administrative action or not to take a particular action, and it is supplemented by legal rights. In the American legal system it must be a judicially enforceable and legally protected right before one suffering a grievance can ask for a mandamus. A person can be said to be aggrieved only when they are denied a legal right by someone who has a legal duty to do something and abstains from doing it.Olive Branch Petition
The Olive Branch Petition was adopted by the Second Continental Congress on July 5, 1775 and signed on July 8 in a final attempt to avoid war between Great Britain and the Thirteen Colonies in America. The Congress had already authorized the invasion of Canada more than a week earlier, but the petition affirmed American loyalty to Great Britain and beseeched King George III to prevent further conflict. It was followed by the July 6 Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms, however, which made its success unlikely in London. In August 1775, the colonies were formally declared to be in rebellion by the Proclamation of Rebellion, and the petition was rejected by Great Britain—even though King George had refused to read it before declaring the colonists traitors.Online petition
An online petition (or Internet petition, or e-petition) is a form of petition which is signed online, usually through a form on a website. Visitors to the online petition sign the petition by adding their details such as name and email address. Typically, after there are enough signatories, the resulting letter may be delivered to the subject of the petition, usually via e-mail. The online petition may also deliver an email to the target of the petition each time the petition is signed.Petition of Right
The Petition of Right is a major English constitutional document that sets out specific liberties of the subject that the king is prohibited from infringing. Passed on 7 June 1628, the Petition contains restrictions on non-Parliamentary taxation, forced billeting of soldiers, imprisonment without cause, and the use of martial law. Following disputes between Parliament and King Charles I over the execution of the Thirty Years' War, Parliament refused to grant subsidies to support the war effort, leading to Charles gathering "forced loans" without Parliamentary approval and arbitrarily imprisoning those who refused to pay. Moreover, the war footing of the nation led to the forced billeting of soldiers within the homes of private citizens, and the declaration of martial law over large swathes of the country.
In response, the House of Commons prepared a set of four Resolutions, decrying these actions and restating the validity of Magna Carta and the legal requirement of habeas corpus. These were rejected by Charles, who also announced that Parliament would be dissolved; in response, the Commons met on 6 May to discuss alternatives, and concluded that a petition of right was the way forward. Accordingly, a committee under Sir Edward Coke drafted such a petition, and it was passed by the Commons on 8 May and sent to the House of Lords. After three weeks of debates and conferences between the two chambers, the Petition of Right was ratified by both houses on the 26th and 27 May. Following additional debates in which the King restricted the right of the Commons to freely speak, he bowed to the pressure; in need of Parliamentary support for the war effort, the Petition was accepted on 2 June. Unhappy with the method chosen, both houses joined together and demanded the King fully ratify the Petition, which he did on 7 June.
Despite debates over its legal status, the Petition of Right was highly influential. Domestically, the Petition is seen as "one of England's most famous constitutional documents", of equal value to the Magna Carta and Bill of Rights 1689. In a period in which Charles's main protection from the Commons was the House of Lords, the willingness of both chambers to work together marked a new stage in the constitutional crisis that would eventually lead to the English Civil War. The Petition remains in force in the United Kingdom and, thanks to Imperial legislation, many parts of the Commonwealth of Nations including Australia and New Zealand. Internationally, it helped influence the Massachusetts Body of Liberties, and is seen as a predecessor to the Third, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh amendments to the Constitution of the United States.Probate
Probate is the judicial process whereby a will is "proved" in a court of law and accepted as a valid public document that is the true last testament of the deceased, or whereby the estate is settled according to the laws of intestacy in the state of residence [or real property] of the deceased at time of death in the absence of a legal will.
The granting of probate is the first step in the legal process of administering the estate of a deceased person, resolving all claims and distributing the deceased person's property under a will. A probate court decides the legal validity of a testator's (deceased person's) will and grants its approval, also known as granting probate, to the executor. The probated will then becomes a legal instrument that may be enforced by the executor in the law courts if necessary. A probate also officially appoints the executor (or personal representative), generally named in the will, as having legal power to dispose of the testator's assets in the manner specified in the testator's will. However, through the probate process, a will may be contested.Recall election
A recall election (also called a recall referendum or representative recall) is a procedure by which, in certain polities, voters can remove an elected official from office through a direct vote before that official's term has ended. Recalls, which are initiated when sufficient voters sign a petition, have a history dating back to ancient Athenian democracy and feature in several current constitutions. In indirect or representative democracy, people's representatives are elected and these representatives rule for a specific period of time. However, where the facility to recall exists, should any representative come to be perceived as not properly discharging their responsibilities, then they can be called back with the written request of specific number or proportion of voters.Removal of cannabis from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act
The removal of cannabis from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, the most tightly restricted category reserved for drugs that have "no currently accepted medical use," has been proposed repeatedly since 1972.
Rescheduling proponents argue that cannabis does not meet the Controlled Substances Act's strict criteria for placement in Schedule I and so the government is required by law to permit medical use or to remove the drug from federal control altogether. The US government, on the other hand, maintains that cannabis is dangerous enough to merit Schedule I status. The dispute is based on differing views on both how the Act should be interpreted and what kinds of scientific evidence are most relevant to the rescheduling decision.
The Act provides a process for rescheduling controlled substances by petitioning the Drug Enforcement Administration. The first petition under this process was filed in 1972 to allow cannabis to be legally prescribed by physicians. The petition was ultimately denied after 22 years of court challenges, but a synthetic pill form of cannabis's psychoactive ingredient, THC, was rescheduled in 1986 to allow prescription under schedule II. In 1999, it was again rescheduled to allow prescription under schedule III.
A second petition, based on claims related to clinical studies, was denied in 2001. The most recent rescheduling petition filed by medical cannabis advocates was in 2002, but it was denied by the DEA in July 2011. Subsequently, medical cannabis advocacy group Americans for Safe Access filed an appeal, Americans for Safe Access v. Drug Enforcement Administration in January 2012 with the District of Columbia Circuit, which was heard on 16 October 2012 and denied on 22 January 2013.As of August 2018, 33 states and Washington, D.C. have legalized the use of medical marijuana. At a congressional hearing in June 2014, the Deputy Director for Regulatory Programs at the FDA said the agency was conducting an analysis on whether marijuana should be downgraded, at the request of the DEA. In August 2016 the DEA reaffirmed its position and refused to remove Schedule I classification. However, the DEA announced that it will end restrictions on the supply of marijuana to researchers and drug companies that had previously only been available from the government's own facility at the University of Mississippi.Advocates of marijuana legalization argue that the budgetary impact of removing cannabis from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act and legalizing its use in the United States could save billions by reducing government spending for prohibition enforcement in the criminal justice system. Additionally, they argue that billions in annual tax revenues could be generated through proposed taxation and regulation. Patient advocates argue that by reclassifying marijuana, millions of Americans who are currently prevented from using medical marijuana would be able to benefit from its therapeutic value..Right to petition
The right to petition government for redress of grievances is the right to make a complaint to, or seek the assistance of, one's government, without fear of punishment or reprisals, ensured by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution (1791). Article 44 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union ensures the right to petition to the European Parliament.
The right can be traced back to the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany, the Bill of Rights 1689, the Petition of Right (1628), and Magna Carta (1215).