Posted in essay, history, Politics

The Amendments: Seven & Eight

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.  (source)

This one was a bit harder for me to understand. This amendment deals with civil cases, not criminal ones.  Civil trials are not usual, according to the National Constitution center its only been used in 1% of civil cases.  Most civil cases are decided upon by judges.

This does however protect the use of juries in civil trials, and limits the Judge’s ability to overturn jury responses to cases.

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. (source)

This protects people from being charged excessively for fines/bail, and not being treated unfairly. It’s probably also one of the more straightforward amendments.  There is debate on what constitutes cruel and unusual punishment (which apparently was referring to torture from the arguments given at the time).  This is often cited in arguments against the death penalty, or other methods of modern punishment such as solitary confinement.

It also brings to question the right of the US government to use torture, and other methods most would consider cruel on non-US citizens during time of War.  Beyond International agreements, do we have to right within our own guidelines to inflict this on other people?

I personally am against the Death penalty as I do not think it works as a deterrent, and far too many people are released later in life due to new evidence for me to trust convictions enough to subscribe to the penalty.  Also our current justice system has filled our prisons with minor infractions that don’t deserve lengthy time nor is it a good reason to execute someone to free up prison space.

I’m also against torture as it also has not been shown as a reliable way of getting information.   I feel that not only am against these things as they are logically unsound, I also am against them morally.



A thirty-something Graphic Designer and writer who likes to blog about books, movies and History.

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