The 400 edition cover of a traditional old fashioned reminds me of our common heritage with the people of England who made their way across the oceans to come to America. Our Colonial past has given us much of the freedoms we enjoy, as the traditions of English liberty were adopted by our founding fathers.
In fact it is interesting to note that we in the United States share the English common law as a basis for many of the laws, which govern us today.
The system of trial by jury, which is the underpinning of freedom, comes directly from the jury system that was in place in England in 1776. This jury system is the only institution that is totally free from political influence, and guarantees our citizens an objective, and unbiased decision. Juries not judges are the finders of fact. They alone can decide the fate of an individual's case. Juries are comprised of ordinary people. Persons like you, who make a decision, and as free citizens are in charge. What other government institution can claim that type of pedigree!
The jury system decides all in both the criminal, and the civil area of the law. The jury decides the guilt and innocence of those charged by the police. They are the bulwark of freedom, and the protection against totalitarianism. In the civil system they monitor and make sure that people who are wronged are fairly compensated. Although the insurance industry casts stones against juries-the truth is that juries make people do the right thing.
Juries make decisions that are unpopular. Jurors must take an oath to be free of bias, and to follow the instructions of our judges. Jurors are the most important part of our judicial system. Their role of the guardians of our system even surpasses the role of the Judges, and the lawyers. How great were our founding fathers to guarantee the right of free citizens to a trial by jury under the Seventh Amendment of the bill of rights.
As a trial lawyer who represents injured people, I am grateful to the people who serve as our jurors. Our jurors serve for low pay, and long hours. However their service is essential and we should all appreciate, and honor their role in keeping insurance companies straight. If we did not have the jury system, ordinary people would be left without any recourse. The big guys don't control the judicial system, the people do.
Old-fashioned Christmas evokes good food, and wonderful times. The spirit of giving, and good cheer. But for me as a trial lawyer, Old-fashioned Christmas makes me think about the traditions of England, and the strength of the jury system, which ensures our freedoms.
In this very special season, I wish all of you a wonderful holiday, and a Merry Christmas.