The First Freedoms
The Privacy Amendments
The 5th Amendment
The 6th Amendment
Civil Trials
The Interpretive Rules

7th Amendment

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of a 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.

If the 3rd Amendment is the Rodney Dangerfield of the Bill of Rights (it gets no respect), then the 7th Amendment is the D-listed movie star who has faded into obscurity, or the rock star who hasn’t aged well—few people know anything about it and even fewer seem to care. Even the Supreme Court seems to feel that way: the 7th Amendment is one of the few parts of the Bill of Rights that the Court does not consider important enough to apply to the states. But when the Constitution was first being debated, disagreements about these issues threatened to derail ratification.

Part of the problem is that the two issues addressed in the 7th Amendment are very specific legal concepts that most people never encounter: civil jury trials and appellate review of those jury trials. 

Most people know what a jury is—it is a small group, typically six to twelve people, who sits in a special place in a courtroom, watches a trial and then decides what the facts are. After the jury determines the facts in a case, a judge applies the law to those facts. As a concept, this seems simple enough.