The American jury system has been under constant attack over the past several years and the attacks have intensified and become more vicious in recent months. It’s to the point that many folks, as well as some elected officials, have forgotten how important our jury system really is. It’s well documented that the rights of citizens are being taken away or at least trampled upon. It’s always good to reflect on how the right to trial by jury was looked upon by our founding fathers. The following statements pretty well sum up their feelings and beliefs about the importance of the right to trial by jury in this country.
The friends and adversaries of the plan of the constitutional convention, if they agree on nothing else, concur at least in the value they set upon trial by jury; the former regard it as a valuable safe guard to liberty; the latter represent it as the palladium of free government.
Alexander Hamilton (1788)
I consider trial by jury as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.
Thomas Jefferson (1788)
Trial by jury in civil cases is as essential to secure the liberty of the people as any of the pre-existent rights of nature.
James Madison (1789)
Without the trial by jury we have no way to keep us from being ridden like horses, fleeced like sheep, fed like swine and clothed like hounds.
Those who would destroy our jury system and take away the right to trial by jury are undermining the one thing that has consistently protected the American people and preserved their rights and freedoms over the years. Unfortunately many, including even some judges, have forgotten that the right to trial by jury is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution in both criminal and civil disputes. It’s rather interesting, and also quite telling, that the attacks on juries and jurors have been made just on the civil jury side and on the folks serving just on the civil juries.
Those, who for ulterior and financial reasons, are behind the attacks on our jury system might consider the following warning, by a prophet in Old Testament times:
Woe to those who enact unjust statutes and who write oppressive decrees, depriving the needy of judgment and robbing my people’s poor of their rights, making widows their plunder, and orphans their prey.
The American people had best wake up and collectively fight to preserve the jury system in our country. I believe more and more folks are realizing that they have been voting for candidates in recent years who don’t have their best interest at heart. In fact, folks have been voting against their own self-interest.
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