Vernon The Low Country Lawyer thinks…and Thus, He Says-

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Justice for all is all I seek It's important that the general public become aware of what politicians are doing to their Constitutional Rights. Rather than represent the rights of their constituents, as they were elected to do, they are currently stripping away the branches of the Seventh Amendment – all at the behest of subsets sometimes known as" Big Insurance," "Big Medicine" and "Corporate America." To clarify, the Seventh Amendment was created by our Founding Fathers to protect the rights and justice of all of its citizens. It established the concept of "Trial by Jury", the right to a "jury of one's peers," with which we are all familiar. This right is vital to our basic freedoms, because juries can potentially make decisions that may affect us for the rest of our lives. They can send a person to prison or exonerate them or can award money damages in disputes. Most importantly, they sometimes hold in their hands the ultimate decision of whether or not to condemn an individual to death. The potential role that a jury can play in our lives can not be overemphasized. Unfortunately, legislators are increasingly and alarmingly, in my view, curbing, restricting and capping what juries can do to address grievances. Simply put, they are forcing their own agendas (and, more specifically, the agendas of their most deep-pocketed contributors) into the realm of the jury, thus truncating a jury's right to think and act independently. Through their machinations, these legislators often successfully create the perception that juries are comprised of irresponsible individuals who capriciously award large, "plaintiff-friendly" judgments without giving their decisions serious thought. Despite this increasingly common belief, in my 37 years of practicing law I have yet to witness such an occurrence. Perhaps my experience is unusual, but I doubt it. To my way of thinking, the attempts to promote the myth of the "runaway jury" serves little purpose other than to protect the interests of "Big Business" while at the same time cheating the average person out of what should be their unalterable and permanent rights, as laid out in the Constitution. In the 46 counties in South Carolina, and the hundreds of other counties in states throughout the country, seated juries at all levels of the justice system hand down thousands of decisions each year. As with any entity involving the human element, their verdicts are not always perfect. Contrary to public perception, however, their decisions are most often correct and fair. Unfortunately, the mundane cases tend to be overlooked and only the most lurid or infamous decisions – such as the OJ Simpson trial or the McDonald's "Scalding Hot Coffee" - seem to capture the public's attention. And why is this the case? Because the "Big Money" crowd pounces upon the opportunity to trumpet them as prime examples of a justice system that has gone off the rails. I believe that it is imperative that the American people quit allowing themselves to be swayed by people who perhaps do not have their best interests at heart. I suggest that it's time to start asking your politicians who they really represent. Are they only concerned about the "rights" of their Big Money donors, or are they truly concerned about the Seventh Amendment and the concept of "justice for all"? Now is clearly a crucial time in our nation's history. It is time to stand up for the Seventh Amendment. It is time to stand up for your rights. If you agree with me, I urge you to let your elected officials know.

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