Participation in Government Discussion Question 13
Students need to understand that the right to trial by jury is a double right. First, it is the legal right of the defendant to be judged by a jury of his/her peers on questions of fact (as opposed to law), as provided in the Fifth and Sixth Amendments. Second, it is the political right of the people to serve as jurors, and this is guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment in criminal cases and by the Seventh Amendment in civil cases. Students need to understand that both perspectives of this right are democratic in nature. Historically, Anti-federalists sought the right to trial by jury as a political power by which the people could check the power of appointed federal judges in the court system.
Discussion Question #13 - What is the importance of the jury in a democratic system?