The Seventh Amendment

By Tim Guidera - bio | email

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) – While several amendments address the same subject matter, none duplicate rights in the same way as the Seventh, which guarantees a trial by jury for civil cases.

That had already been established for criminal cases in the Sixth Amendment. But Colonists were concerned enough with what they perceived as injustices and government abuses under English law that they thought it necessary to stipulate it again specifically for civil trials.

"The Seventh Amendment's actually fairly minor,'' says Georgia Southern University political science professor Dr. Richard Pacelle. "It's thrown in actually added to the Sixth. The Seventh amendment talks about civil cases, property damage or a car accident. Although, the framers didn't think about car accidents, maybe horse and buggy accidents or something.''

Unlike most amendments that pertain to both state and federal governments, the Seventh only has to do with federal courts. Individual states have their own provisions for what would be a jury trial.

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