On the 4th of July, of all days, the following topic should be considered one of utmost importance.
The 7th Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees the right to a trial by jury in civil cases.
Seventh Amendment of the US Constitution
“In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.”
Our Founding Fathers considered the right essential to the preservation of liberty in America:
James Madison: “In suits at common law, trial by jury in civil cases is as essential to secure the liberty of the people as any one of the pre-existent rights of nature.”
Thomas Jefferson called civil jury trials, “the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.”
In fact, the right to a trial by jury of civil suits dates back nearly 800 years, to the signing of the Magna Carta of 1215. Article 39 of the Magna Carta specifically guaranteed the right in both civil and criminal cases.
Pretty serious stuff.
Sadly, the 7th Amendment right it teetering on the brink of collapse under years of unrelenting political and legal warfare funded by Corporate America and fought by its groundtroops composed of lobbyists and so-called “conservative” politicians – in my view, the word “radical” more accurately describes the mentality of these politicians.
In the name of “economic efficiency,” the drug industry, financial institutions, manufacturers, and other entities for years have pushed “tort reform” – the enactment of laws specifically designed to provide immunity to wrongdoers at the expense of the 7th Amendment. Unfortunately, their propoganda, lies, and distortions have been accepted as truth by the very same people the 7th Amendment is designed to protect. A classic example of “We the People” being fooled into supporting measures that are against our own best interests.
Many of the new members of Congress elected in 2010, some of whom are part of the Tea Party Movement, campaigned on the importance of upholding the U.S. Constitution, trumpeting the virtue that Congress should create no law unless specific constitutional authority can be cited in its favor. Some within this group even read the Constitution aloud on the House floor.
Let’s hope these legislators remember the 7th Amendment when it comes time to fullfilling their campaign pledges.
Happy 4th of July!!!
Related reference: Troubling Decline in Federal Jury Trials
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Jeffrey P. Gale, P.A. is a South Florida based law firm committed to the judicial system and to representing and obtaining justice for individuals – the poor, the injured, the forgotten, the voiceless, the defenseless and the damned, and to protecting the rights of such people from corporate and government oppression. We do not represent government, corporations or large business interests.
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