Reexamining the Right to Trial by Jury
SMU Law Review, Vol. 54, Special Issue, 2001
Posted: 17 Dec 2015 Last revised: 26 Apr 2018
Date Written: 2001
The purpose of this article is to emphasize the Seventh Amendment's reexamination clause and how it functions to protect the jury's province from invasion. Fundamental to the notion of the jury's province are the jury's right to decide mixed questions of law and fact, and the jury's right to draw inferences from the evidence. This article focuses on the Supreme Court's recognition of the importance of these two jury rights-particularly the latter- in recent jurisprudence and the circuit courts' interpretations of the high Court's decisions. In so doing, this article explains how a recent Supreme Court decision requires a reassessment of the common understanding of current federal summary judgment principles. The article also addresses weight-of-the-evidence review and explains its relationship to legal sufficiency review and to the reexamination clause. As a whole, the theme of the article is that although appellate courts may review jury verdicts to ensure they are supported by legally and factually sufficient evidence, their methods of review must be consonant with the substance and the spirit of the Seventh Amendment.
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