Special Juries in the Supreme Court

45 Pages Posted: 22 Jun 2013 Last revised: 9 Oct 2013

Date Written: October 9, 2013


This Note presents the first detailed analysis of the Supreme Court’s only published jury trial, Georgia v. Brailsford (1794). It examines the case’s hitherto unstudied oral arguments and list of potential jurors, and argues that the "special jury" the Court employed was a Mansfieldian special jury of merchants. Brailsford has fascinated scholars both for the intriguing prospect of the Supreme Court presiding over a jury trial, and for the case’s provocative language on the power of juries to find the law. But for all of this interest, the case remains ill-understood. This Note’s conclusion that the Supreme Court used a special jury of merchants offers insights into both of these puzzles.

Suggested Citation

Shelfer, Lochlan, Special Juries in the Supreme Court (October 9, 2013). 123 Yale L.J. 208 (2013), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2283328

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