Seventh Amendment

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Seventh 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 reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law."

Historical Background

Before we had such thing as trial by jury people believed in trial by ordeal and trial by battle. Juries have always been an important part of American legal tradition. A jury is a group of citizens brought together to hear evidence and then decide a choice over the facts presented. We see juries as people who allow ordinary citizens to play a role in the legal system, because of that we have viewed them as protection against the government having too much power. The British government limited colonist the right to a jury trial and the colonist protested angrily. After they won their independence colonist listed the rights in which the right to a trial by jury was repetitively listed for our basic rights.

Meaning of the Seventh Amendment

The meaning of the Seventh Amendment is as simple that everyone is guaranteed a trial by jury for civil cases in the federal court.

Supreme Court Case

Feltner v. Columbia Pictures TV (1998)

C. Elvin Feltner, a local television owner sued for copyright violations by Columbia Pictures, was entitled to a jury trial. The trial judge had denied the local television owner’s jury-trial demands and had awarded damages to Columbia Pictures for copyright.The court wrote "Before the adoption of the Seventh Amendment the common law and statutes in England and this country granted copyright owners causes of action for infringement. More importantly, copyright suits for monetary damages were tried in courts of law, and thus before juries."

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Cites

"Seventh Amendment." Constitutional Amendments: From Freedom of Speech to Flag Burning. 2nd ed. Vol. 1. Detroit: UXL, 2008. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.