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.
It seems more than happenstance that I became aware of Bill Burke’s passing in time to attend his memorial this morning. Bill was William T. Burke and Professor William T. Burke and his school of Law and Marine Affairs at the University of Washington is the primary reason I wound up here in Washington State. Bill was a good friend, teacher, and mentor to many of his students, including me. The high regard for him and his family filled the University’s Urban Horticultural Center this morning. I was moved by the photos of him as he passed through his life. Our shared humanity is illuminated by the stages we all go through. It seemed that anyone who got to know Bill got to know him well. His humor was infectious. His passions numerous. His intellect was staggering. It is not an understatement to report that William T. Burke is one of the giants among those who have brought order to the oceans and been instrumental in the development of the law of the sea. As I drove to his memorial I thought about what Bill Burke had done with his life; he had contemplated and helped to initiate a new world order. He was proof that change can result from the passions of good people. His passing is eclipsed by his life and his work, which will continue to make a difference. #williamtburke #lawofthesea #universityofwashingtonlawandmarineaffairs
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.