Article 3, Section 2, Clause 3

Document 12

Luther Martin, Genuine Information

1788Storing 2.4.93--94

Thus, Sir, jury trials, which have ever been the boast of the English constitution, which have been by our several State constitutions so cautiously secured to us--jury trials which have so long been considered the surest barrier against arbitrary power, and the palladium of liberty,--with the loss of which the loss of our freedom may be dated, are taken away by the proposed form of government, not only in a great variety of questions between individual and individual, but in every case whether civil or criminal arising under the laws of the United States, or the execution of those laws.--It is taken away in those very cases where of all others it is most essential for our liberty, to have it sacredly guarded and preserved, in every case, whether civil or criminal, between government and its officers on the one part, and the subject or citizen on the other.--Nor was this the effect of inattention, nor did it arise from any real difficulty in establishing and securing jury trials by the proposed constitution, if the convention had wished so to do: but the same reason influenced here as in the case of the establishment of inferior courts; as they could not trust State Judges, so would they not confide in State juries.--They alledged that the general government and the State governments would always be at variance; that the citizens of the different States would enter into the views and interests of their respective States, and therefore ought not to be trusted in determining causes in which the general government was any way interested, without giving the general government an opportunity, if it disapproved the verdict of the jury, to appeal, and to have the facts examined into again and decided upon by its own judges, on whom it was thought a reliance might be had by the general government, they being appointed under its authority.

Thus, Sir, in consequence of this appellate jurisdiction and its extension to facts as well as to law, every arbitrary act of the general government, and every oppression of all those variety of officers appointed under its authority for the collection of taxes, duties, impost, excise, and other purposes, must be submitted to by the individual, or must be opposed with little prospect of success, and almost a certain prospect of ruin, at least in those cases where the middle and common class of citizens are interested: Since to avoid that oppression, or to obtain redress, the application must be made to one of the courts of the United States--by good fortune should this application be in the first instance attended with success, and should damages be recovered equivalent to the injury sustained, an appeal lies to the supreme court, in which case the citizen must at once give up his cause, or he must attend to it at the distance of perhaps more than a thousand miles from the place of his residence, and must take measures to procure before that court on the appeal all the evidence necessary to support his action, which even if ultimately prosperous must be attended with a loss of time, a neglect of business, and an expense which will be greater than the original grievance, and to which men in moderate circumstances would be utterly unequal.

The Founders' Constitution
Volume 4, Article 3, Section 2, Clause 3, Document 12
The University of Chicago Press

Storing, Herbert J., ed. The Complete Anti-Federalist. 7 vols. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981.

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