Amendment VII

[Volume 5, Page 364]

Document 14

Georgia v. Brailsford

3 Dall. 1 1794

[Jay, Chief Justice, charging jury:] It may not be amiss, here, gentlemen, to remind you of the good old rule that on questions of fact, it is the province of the jury, on questions of law it is the province of the court, to decide. But it must be observed, that by the same law, which recognises this reasonable distribution of jurisdiction you have, nevertheless, a right to take upon yourselves to judge of both, and to determine the law as well as the fact in controversy. On this, and on every other occasion, however, we have no doubt, you will pay that respect which is due to the opinion of the court: for as, on the one hand, it is presumed, that juries are the best judges of facts; it is, on the other hand, presumable, that the court are the best judges of law. But still, both objects are lawfully within your power of decision.

The Founders' Constitution
Volume 5, Amendment VII, Document 14
The University of Chicago Press