For most of our history lawyers have thought of themselves as the unofficial fourth “arm” of the government. Hurst, pp. 598-601. This view is more understandable from lawyers’ past role as “trial advocates”; than from the present relationship between the bench and bar, which reduces the significance lawyers have with regard to the administration of justice. Under the law in effect in most colonies at the time our Constitution was written, lawyers were advocates who had the right to argue the merits of their client’s cases directly to a jury. Juries, not judges, had the right to decide most cases as they saw fit both with regard to the facts and law. “In 1789, juries occupied the principal place in the administration of justice. They were frequently in both criminal and civil cases the arbiters not only of fact but of law.” Galloway, at 399. The King’s denial of the right to a trial by jury was one of the reasons stated by the colonists in the Declaration of Independence justifying separation from England.
Has the Supreme Court corrupted American homeowners right to a jury trial against lenders and servicers in federal courts? The Webster-Merriam Dictionary defines the verb “corrupt” to mean: : to cause (someone or something) to become dishonest, immoral, etc. : to change (something) so that it is less pure or valuable : to change (a book, computer file, etc.) from the correct or original form When I grew up in Iowa in the mid twentieth century we learned in high school “civics” class that our freedoms were preserved through a number of Constitutional checks and balances designed to protect the people from the arbitrary exercise of governmental power. Two of the most basic checks on governmental power, i.e. “the separation of powers” in and “dual sovereignty” nature of our government, are derived directly from the governmental framework established by the Constitution. Shortly after it was ratified, the Constitution was amended by ratification of ten amendments, which are known as the Bill of Rights. The right to a jury of one’s peers was one of the basic structural provisions our founders enacted pursuant to the Bill of Rights. The Fifth Amendment grants the right to trial by jury in criminal cases. The Seventh Amendment grants the right to trial by jury in civil cases.