Saturday, July 23, 2016

Suja Thomas on the Broken Jury System


Congratulations to Suja Thomas (Illinois) on the publication of her new book, The Missing American Jury (Cambridge 2016).  This is an important work from a leading scholar in the area.  As we are all well aware, very few employment cases actually make it to trial, making Professor Thomas' work directly applicable to workplace claims.  The book summary is below:

"Criminal, civil, and grand juries have disappeared from the American legal system. Over time, despite their significant presence in the Constitution, juries have been robbed of their power by the federal government and the states. For example, leveraging harsher criminal penalties, executive officials have forced criminal defendants into plea bargains, eliminating juries. Capping money damages, legislatures have stripped juries of their power to fix damages. Ordering summary judgment, judges dispose of civil cases without sending them to a jury. This is not what the Founders intended. Examining the Constitution's text and historical sources, the book explores how the jury's authority has been taken and how it can be restored to its rightful co-equal position as a "branch" of government.

Discussing the value of the jury beyond the Constitution's requirements, the book also discusses the significance of juries world-wide and argues jury decision-making should be preferred over determinations by other governmental bodies."

More about the subject and book, including favorable reviews from David Boies, Mark Cuban, and the library journal, can be found at  I definitely recommend adding this work to your summer reading list!

-Joe Seiner

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