Do you remember the commercial where the Chamber of Commerce said elections were too expensive, and the president should be chosen by them?
Or the one that said because people sometimes use guns improperly, only trained corporate representatives should be allowed the right to bear arms?
Or what about the one that said because freedom of religion created uncertainty in the marketplace, we should only be allowed to believe what they told us to believe?
If you don’t remember them, it’s because the Chamber of Commerce and other corporate front groups never made those commercials. But they have been making advertisements and lobbying state and federal officials asking you to give up one of your rights that is just as important to the American way of life: the right to a fair trial by a jury of your peers.
Why They Want to Take Your Rights Away
The reason is very simple: profit. Corporations exist to make profits, and they hate anything that restricts their ability to make profits. Jury trials give citizens the right to expose corporate misconduct and force them to pay for the injuries their misconduct causes.
Defective products, dangerous drugs, and understaffed nursing homes are all potential profit centers that also put people at risk for injury or death. If they could make themselves immune from the costs of these injuries, they could make significantly more profits without risk.
Why They Think They Can Take Your Rights Away
Unlike the right to vote, the right to bear arms, or freedom of religion, the right to a jury trial is one that very few people ever need to exercise.
Although there are millions of cases filed in civil courts each year, more than 60% of these cases are contract disputes, mostly corporations suing other corporations. Only about 6% of these cases are tort cases, where an individual might be suing a corporation for injuries. And of these tort cases, only about 3.5% go to trial. In any year, there is only one civil tort trial, by judge or jury, for every 8-10,000 Americans. When so few people have personal experience with jury trials, corporate propaganda groups believe they can manipulate your understanding of the system.
They want you to believe that jury trials are frivolous, result in unreasonable compensation for victims, and are bankrupting corporations that are innocent of wrongdoing.
Why We Should Be All for Justice
Despite what corporations want you to believe, jury trials are democracy in action. We the people get to look at the facts of a case and decide who is responsible and how much they owe to an injury victim or someone who lost a loved one.
An American without justice Is an America without freedom. Don’t let corporations take your rights away. Join the fight for freedom today.