The Seventh Amendment – The Story of the Bill of Rights
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The Seventh Amendment – The Story of the Bill of Rights

October 11, 2019

The 7th Amendment. 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 re examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law. One of the characteristics of civil trials, of course, is that the government is not a party. The Seventh Amendment takes the protection of the other amendments that give you a trial by jury in a criminal case, and applies the right to a trial by jury in a civil case. You don’t go to jail if you lose. You pay money if you lose. It reflects again the pattern in so much of the Bill of Rights that there are provisions designed to make sure that local communities retain power to check the operations of the new national government, and it does so by insisting that if the federal government, if it is hearing a civil suit, the local community has to have a voice in how that issue is resolved by use of a jury.

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