A recent note about a June 2011 jury summit offered this thought:
Numerous studies…have demonstrated that there is overwhelming support for the jury trial among Americans. And yet, there is an alarming downward trend occurring in the nation’s civil courts.
The Chair of the national summit, attorney Gilbert H. Dickinson from Denver said these kind words to the jury system:
Juries are the backbone of our democracy and are as critical as the right to vote itself…The jury trial not only provides protection to the litigants, it also directly involves our citizens in the judicial branch of government. The declining numbers of jury trials demonstrates the need for innovations that will make the system more effective and efficient.
Quite right. The Jury and Democracy project is actively reminding people of the jury’s civic impact for precisely this reason–that if we lose the jury, we lose its secondary benefits for civil and political society, as well.