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Debating Our Rights With Meg Mott: Seventh Amendment

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Wednesday, February 12, 2020, 07:00pm - 08:30pm

 

On Wednesday February 12th the Debating Our Rights series will continue with a discussion of the Seventh Amendment at 7 PM at the Brooks Memorial Library in Brattleboro. Although the right to a civil jury trial doesn’t get as much attention as the rights of criminal defendants, this overlooked right serves an important function in American government. A civil jury trial is the one reliable place where ordinary citizens can hold big businesses accountable.

“Unfortunately, fewer than two percent of civil cases are heard by a jury,” explains Meg Mott, Professor Emerita at Marlboro College. “Some of that has to do with the rise of administrative tribunals, such as the National Labor Relations Board, but most of it has to do with the current Supreme Court. For some reason, Justices are not a big fan of juries. That’s a problem because jury service is the best classroom for providing an education in civics.”

Mott will lead a discussion that looks at the arguments for and against the role of civil juries. Maybe contracts have gotten too complicated for ordinary citizens to understand. Maybe alternative dispute resolutions are more efficient than jury trials. But if not jury service, where else do Americans learn to deliberate?

The Constitution Choir and Neely Bruce will be on hand to sing the Seventh Amendment.

Thanks to the generosity of the Friends of Brooks Memorial, the event is free and open to the public.

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