7th Amendment

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The 7th

amendment is a very important amendment to the American Bill of Rights because it has to do

with how the judicial system is run. The amendment states that 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.

The 7th Amendment is one of the most important guidelines concerning our judicial

system. The Amendment rose out of controversy surrounding the original Constitution, as many

states felt it lacked enough information on how civil trials would proceed. Once the Amendment

was drafted, it was quickly adopted. Its original intent was to divide the civil court into two

branches: common law and equity. The common law courts, those dealing specifically with

monetary values exceeding 20 dollars, would be judged by a jury. Other lawsuits, which

involved legal knowledge and would call for things such as court injunctions, would be decided

by a lawyer, without a jury present. This court system was modeled after the British courts.

Following the adoption of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in 1938, the situation

became more complicated. The law and equity branches of the civil court system were now

merged together into a single court. These caused problems to arise when a case was presented

that should have been split between both the equity and law branches. The solution was found

by the Supreme Court, in that the jury would first make the decision that would have been done

in the law branch, and the judge would then follow with his ruling in what would have been the

equity branch. Also, since monetary value has changed substantially since the 18th century,

common law trials are those which would measure out to be the equivalent of 20 dollars at the

time...
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