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Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Civil Juries

Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (Lawrence/Mayer ed., p. 274):
Juries, especially civil juries, instill some of the habits of the judicial mind into every citizen, and just those habits are the very best way of preparing people to be free.

It spreads respect for the courts' decisions and for the idea of rights throughout all classes. With those two elements gone, love of independence is merely a destructive passion. 
Juries teach men equity in practice. Each man, when judging his neighbor, thinks that he may be judged himself. That is especially true of juries in civil suits; hardly anyone is afraid that he will have to face a criminal trial, but anybody may have a lawsuit.

Juries teach each individual not to shirk responsibility for his own acts, and without that manly characteristic no political virtue is possible.