A Guide to the Seventh Amendment
The Seventh Amendment, or Amendment VII of the United States Constitution is the section of the Bill of Rights that guarantees a jury trial for civil cases in the federal courts. However, this type of case is usually not heard anymore in the federal court system. The Seventh Amendment was introduced as a part of the Bill of Rights into the United States Constitution on September 5, 1789 and was voted for by 9 out of 12 states on December 15, 1791.
Understanding the Seventh Amendment Line by Line
If you are confused by what each line means, here are some good explanations to make the Seventh Amendment easier to understand:
“In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved”: When the Seventh Amendment was written in the 1700s, $20 was considered a lot of money. Today, any disputes that involve amounts less than $75000 will not be handled in a federal court.
“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”: It is against United States law to set up your own court system. If a person goes to court, he will always go to a court recognized by the government. These courts are often city, country, state, or national courts.
History of the Seventh Amendment
Before 1688, English judges were servants under the King of England. These judges were often biased towards the King, and because of this, their rulings were not always fair. During the Act of Settlement 1701, English judges won their independence from the king, but judges in the American colonies were still biased towards the king. King George III got rid of trials by juries in the Colonies, which made colonists very upset and fueled the fire that led to the American Revolution. When the Framers wrote the Bill of Rights, they understood how important it was to have a fair court system, so they made sure that the right to have a trial by jury was a fundamental law of the country.
Facts about the Seventh Amendment
•The Seventh Amendment was put into the Bill of Rights by James Madison
•The $20 dollar clause of the Seventh Amendment is one of the very few portions of the Bill of Rights that were not incorporated by the Supreme Court.