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Mike Bryant
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Republican Senator Jeff Sessions (Alabama) Defends the Tort System

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From the Republican response to the President’s weekly radio address:

SESSIONS:

Hello. I'm Jeff Sessions, United States Senator from Alabama. I'm also the Ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee.

Before entering politics, I was a federal prosecutor. I tried many cases and spoke to many juries. The brilliance of our legal system is that it places judgment in the hands of everyday citizens. Twelve complete strangers, from all walks of life, sit in a jury box, carefully weigh the evidence, and then reach an impartial verdict.

Our democracy works much the same. Voters hear the arguments, weigh the evidence, and then go to the ballot box and render a verdict.

As a prosecutor, I learned to trust the wisdom of these everyday citizens. I also learned, more than anything else, jurors want the facts. Today my goal is to present to you the facts as honestly and directly as I can. . . .”

This is great to hear from the side that is often carrying the water for insurance companies and big business. The party that is often pushing tort reform. To hear the ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee enthrall the benefits of the jury system is something every American should know about.

The 7th Amendment to the Constitution grants the right to trial by jury and is at the very heart of our civil justice system. A cornerstone of our democracy is a uniquely American civil justice system that allows judges and juries to enforce the law and protect the principles of accountability and responsibility. Our founding fathers knew that without the ability to enforce the law, the law becomes meaningless. As was said:

"Representative government and trial by jury are the heart and lungs of liberty.

Without them we have no other fortification against being ridden like horses,

fleeced like sheep, worked like cattle, and fed and clothed like swine and hounds."

John Adams, 1774

“I consider [trial by jury] as the only anchor yet imagined by man, by

which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.”

Thomas Jefferson

It is important to our democracy and our society that the 7th Amendment is protected and that the civil justice system remains accessible to all citizens so that they can seek justice and accountability. The American civil justice system gives people a fair chance to receive justice and hold wrongdoers accountable.

Our legal system also serves as a powerful deterrent for corporations to act responsibly. When corporations and their CEOs act irresponsibly – by delaying or refusing to pay fair and just insurance claims, producing unsafe products, polluting our environment or swindling their employees and shareholders – the last resort for Americans to hold them accountable is in our courts.

All Americans should have a fair chance to receive justice through the legal system – even when it means taking on the most powerful corporations or their front groups.

“The right to trial by jury in civil cases at common law is fundamental to

our history and jurisprudence. A right so fundamental and sacred

to the citizens . . . should be jealously guarded.”

William H. Rehnquist, Former Chief Justice, United States Supreme Court

Nominated to the Court by Richard Nixon; nominated Chief Justice by Ronald Reagan

Hopefully, these words will be heard and understood.