The Bill of Rights: The Seventh Amendment

The right to a jury trial.


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The Bill of Rights has guaranteed our freedoms and rights for over 200 years. In this regular series, Dean Leonard Baynes with the University of Houston Law Center looks at how they relate to society today.

“In millions of court cases each year, defendants and plaintiffs face one another and have their cases heard by a jury of their peers. The Seventh Amendment to the Constitution requires jury trials in federal civil cases but has never been formally required in state civil trials, although most states afford plaintiffs this right.”

“The Seventh Amendment has been interpreted of guaranteeing a jury trial of six members to be of a constitutionally sufficient size.”

“Lastly the re-examination clause of the Seventh Amendment prohibits any court from overturning any factual determination made by a jury. Juries made up of one's peers, not the judge, are the ultimate authority that determines the facts of a case.”

“The right to a jury trial is ingrained in our culture, as promised by the Seventh Amendment, and that right has endured for hundreds of years.”

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