I have faith in the people - I have faith in the jury system. It's one of the most important elements of our freedom, and it was so recognized in the Constitution, was felt to be so important, it was specifically put into the Constitution in the 7th Amendment. And I'll tell you, it's a very dangerous thing to take away rights like that from the people... In fact, I can tell you, you have better regulation by juries than you have by federal government regulators - it's more effective.
Rep. John Duncan, Jr., Republican from Tennessee, said that on Monday when he was interviewed by Christian broadcaster Terry Lowry on the What's Up radio show, which is broadcast on 12 stations in 10 states, thanks in part to co-sponsorship by the American Association of Justice. I've met with Rep. Duncan several times this year, and his allegiance to Constitutional principles of limited government is clear and consistent. He enjoys discussing his career in Tennessee as a trial lawyer, and how he helped plaintiffs to exercise their 7th Amendment right to a civil jury trial. On "What's Up," he discussed this issue and the deterioration of states' rights over the past several decades and called for their rejuvenation.
Terry Lowry asked Rep. Duncan for his opinion of H.R. 5, the bill to severely limit civil suits against all health care-related businesses, including nursing homes and insurance companies. Rep. Duncan said it's a bad idea, and he discussed his faith in the jury system, in the people who sit on local juries, and explicitly in the 7th Amendment ("one of the most important elements of our freedom"). He decried the steady reduction in the steady number of jury trials in recent years, a topic on which I posted last year. And he reiterated what the Founding Fathers always knew, that local juries are more effective in controlling egregious behavior than any federal regulator.
UPDATE: You can download and listen to the entire interview with Rep. Duncan from the What's Up website (MP3 file).
Rep. Duncan is a true Constitutional conservative and patriot, and his constituents are blessed to have such a man represent them in Congress.