Friday, September 28, 2012

The Importance of Trial by Jury and The Civil Justice System


Seventh Amendment

·         A cornerstone of our democracy is a uniquely American civil justice system that allows judges and juries to enforce the law and protect the principles of accountability and responsibility. 

·         Our founding fathers knew that without the ability to enforce the law, the law becomes meaningless. 

·         The 7th Amendment to the Constitution grants the right to trial by jury and is at the very heart of our civil justice system. 

·         The 7th Amendment:

o   preserves the right of Americans to a fair and impartial trial even against large and powerful interests;

o   ensures that every citizen can get a “fair fight” when injured and harmed by others’ wrongdoing; and

o   gives citizens the right to participate directly in our democracy in an important and meaningful way.

·         Through the 7th Amendment and access to the civil justice system, Americans can to affect positive changes in our society, including:

o   safer consumer products;

o   enhanced safety in the workplace; and

o   increased quality and safety in health care.

·         It is important to our democracy and our society that the 7th Amendment is protected and that the civil justice system remains accessible to all citizens so that they can seek justice and accountability.



Civil Justice System

          America’s civil justice system gives people a fair chance to receive justice and hold wrongdoers accountable.

          When corporations and their CEOs act irresponsibly – by delaying or refusing to pay fair and just insurance claims, producing unsafe products, polluting our environment or swindling their employees and shareholders – the last resort for Americans to hold them accountable is in our courts.

          Over the years, big corporations and their front groups have attacked the civil justice system, trial attorneys and those who are injured through no fault of their own – all in an effort to pad their profits and escape accountability.

          Our legal system also serves as a powerful deterrent for corporations to act responsibly.

          The campaign to limit Americans’ access to justice is run by corporate front groups looking to undermine the civil justice system so negligent corporations can avoid accountability.

          These corporate front groups have been funded by tobacco, chemical, oil, and insurance companies – all who have the most to gain by preventing Americans from accessing the courts.

          The U.S. Chamber is the most active tort reform group on the state and national level, spending millions of dollars annually to destroy the legal system and prevent Americans from holding negligent corporations accountable.

          All Americans should have a fair chance to receive justice through the legal system – even when it means taking on the most powerful corporations or their front groups.


"Representative government and trial by jury are the heart and lungs of liberty.

Without them we have no other fortification against being ridden like horses,

fleeced like sheep, worked like cattle, and fed and clothed like swine and hounds."

John Adams, 1774


“I consider [trial by jury] as the only anchor yet imagined by man, by

which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.”

Thomas Jefferson


“The right to trial by jury in civil cases at common law is fundamental to

our history and jurisprudence. A right so fundamental and sacred

to the citizens . . . should be jealously guarded.”

William H. Rehnquist, Former Chief Justice, United States Supreme Court

Nominated to the Court by Richard Nixon; nominated Chief Justice by Ronald Reagan


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