We’ve finished the original Constitution and the first five amendments. Today, we’ll consider the Seventh Amendment.
This post is part of a series that will make more sense if it is read in order. If you haven’t read the earlier posts in this series, please click here to start with the first one. One reason I’ve broken this series into fairly small parts is that we have a tendency to rush through reading the Constitution and miss a lot of it. I hope the readers of this series will ponder the points in each session. I also hope you will comment on each post as we go along.
Throughout this series on the Constitution, my comments will be in black normal font, and the text of the document will be in this color and italicized.
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.
This is a very simple, straightforward and non-controversial amendment regarding the right to a trial by jury in civil cases. Although the figure $20 may seem to be ridiculously low these days, it represented most of a month’s pay for the average person back in the day when it was written.
It is interesting to note the provision that no fact so tried can be re-examined by any other court. While any civil case may be appealed by either party, only the application of the relevant law is appealable. Appellate courts cannot change rulings on facts—only on law.
“We’ve given you a republic, if you can keep it.”
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