Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Let's Celebrate the Seventh Amendment for the Fourth of July
I love the 4th of July. I love fireworks, summer and independence. Heck, I live in Independence. The only other worthy Missouri town, by name, is Liberty in Clay County. Of course, most people I know probably think I should be living in Cass County in the significantly named town of Peculiar.
But, I want to talk about what makes our country great, and to a great extent this nation's greatness is because of our Constitution and the Bill of Rights. My family came here because of the first amendment, religious freedom, after being persecuted in Nazi Germany. We hear a lot about the first amendment, and of course, the second amendment makes a lot of news. Most of the amendments in the Bill of Rights are extolled as virtuous Ten Commandments-like rules. But little attention is given to the seventh amendment.
The founding fathers stated the following in the Seventh Amendment: "In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law. ”. That means, regular citizens are entitled to a jury or their peers in civil disputes. The purpose of the 7th was to make sure the government, namely the judges appointed by the sovereign, did not abuse it's power. The 7th is another check on the power of government, just as the three branches of government are.
Let us, this Independence Day embrace the 7th Amendment for the 4th of July. Who knows how safe cars and prescription drugs would be without the 7th. Without the 7th, sexual and racial harassment in the workplace might be commonplace, as it was in the 1960's, and we probably wouldn't have airbags in vehicles. We live in a time where the individual is important, almost as important in government as the almighty corporation. Hopefully, we are working towards a world where people are afforded dignity, respect and safety. We wouldn't be here if large corporations had their way. Hurray for the Seventh Amendment, which allows us to even the playing field.