Quote of the Day
Wednesday’s arguments focused primarily on this first theory: that adjudicating securities fraud before an administrative law judge violates the right to a trial by a jury. This right arises from the Seventh Amendment, which provides a jury trial in some civil cases. Current Supreme Court precedent breaks it down like this: When the U.S. government seeks to enforce a congressional statute that prohibits or punishes wrongdoing, it is enforcing “public rights.” And these enforcements don’t implicate the Seventh Amendment. That means they can be brought within an agency, before administrative law judges, who are shielded from removal by the commission. As Kagan put it on Wednesday, quoting major precedent, the Seventh Amendment “is no bar to the creation of new rights or to their enforcement outside the regular courts of law.”
This system is the only plausible way that the executive branch can carry out the duties assigned to it by Congress. Federal agencies rely on administrative adjudication to penalize polluters, scammers, abusive employers, crooked banks, and a whole range of unsavory parties. Obviously, these agencies can’t send anyone to prison, and their procedures must comply with due process. Their goal is to catch countless cases that would otherwise slip through the cracks—often because the harm involved applies to the public at large, or to potential harms that haven’t yet caused an injury. If the government had to bring these cases in federal court, the judiciary would be overwhelmed, its docket flooded with disputes that it lacks the time or resources to resolve by trial.
Mark Joseph Stern
November 29, 2023
The Supreme Court Has Figured Out How to Gut a Bunch of Crucial Federal Laws at Once
To refresh your memory on the 7th 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.
I’m not a lawyer, but the only exemptions to a jury trial granted by the 7th Amendment is if the value must be less than or equal to $20 or the controversy is not a suit at common law. “At common law” appears to mean “cases that triggered the right to a jury under English law”. Article III protects the right to a trial by jury for all criminal cases.
So what are these regulations that Stern is so upset about? Are they criminal or are they civil? It would appear to be criminal cases to me. They are violations of laws created by congress, right?
So, it would appear to me that the only exemption Stern can hang his hat on when he claims the 7th Amendment doesn’t guarantee a jury trial are those trials which involve less than or equal to $20.
Of course he doesn’t try to explain why these regulations are exempt. He just rants about how it is not practical to allow the defendants to have their right to a trial by jury. In other words, inconvenient constitutionally guaranteed rights must be ignored..
I suspect this mindset is common in those opposed to the 2nd Amendment as well.
Perhaps he would revise his option at his own trial.