Our Founding Fathers valued liberty and created our founding documents with an eye toward creating a system of individual rights and fair government procedures. Our civil justice system remains a unique American hallmark. Our Constitution, a document with few revisions over the last 230 years, specifically lists the importance of a jury trial as one of those enshrined liberties. The right of juries to hear evidence fairly presented by both sides and decide upon a judgment is a cornerstone of our national system. Changes will have drastic effects on all Illinois medical malpractice victims.
That is why it is shocking when those who most often call for respecting the constitution have so little regard for this principle of justice. These claimed conservatives are often vocal supporters of “tort reform,” a misguided effort to undermine the jury trial in the country. As a recent editorial written by the Center for Just Society explained, it is similar to a politician calling for the right to vote to be taken away from citizens. The affront to liberty is similar in both cases.
Tort reform claims boil down to the fact that many big interests do not like the decisions reached by some juries and therefore seek to strip all juries of some of their power. It is a direct affront to the principle of a nation ruled by its citizens. Just as our elected officials are selected by the people, our judicial decisions are made by fellow community members. Tort reform is therefore simply a power grab from the people and toward specific interests. It is based on distrust of average citizens and fear of the choices made by community members. It is a disrespect to all those who value personal responsibility.
As is so often forgotten, jury trials represent a check on powerful government interests. Teddy Roosevelt explained that juries “protect us from the harsh hand of government.” We are at the edge of a dangerous precipice when we chose the arbitrary mass decisions of the government over the judgment of our own citizens.
Our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Levin & Perconti continue to reject all efforts to undermine this American cornerstone. We encourage all those who respect the vision of our Founding Fathers to stand up against this government power grab. Be sure to contact your elected officials to voice your disapproval of tort reform efforts.
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