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The Justice System
"I consider trial by jury as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution."
-- Thomas Jefferson, Speech to Congress, 1801
The civil justice system is the only branch of government in which an average American can take on the wealthy and the powerful, where truth and justice still have a fair chance over money and influence.
But our great tradition of unfettered access to an impartial trial by jury now faces an unprecedented threat from powerful corporations and their lobbyists. These special interests already dominate the executive and legislative branches through their campaign donations. Their agenda of deregulation, tax breaks and public bailouts, greased by campaign contributions to public officials, costs American consumers and taxpayers billions of dollars each year.
Now, the corporations are after the third and perhaps most important pillar of our democracy: the judicial branch.
Many of America's largest corporations are promoting an alternative, private system of justice: one which they finance, they control, and which will protect them, not you. Quietly, the big corporations are taking over independent court reporters; insisting that consumers waive their right to a jury trial and instead hire private arbitrators to resolve disputes; and financing the elections of public judges.
But that's not all. These corporations are financing campaigns to restrict the historic right of Americans to seek redress through the court system against wrongdoers. They call it "tort reform." It's purpose: to repeal state and federal consumer protection laws. If they succeed, they'll be able to mistreat you, rip you off, maim or even kill you without fear of accountability in a court of law.
FTCR is one of the few national citizen organizations that has fought to preserve the right to go to court to hold defendants accountable.
To learn more about the commercialization of justice in the United States, and what we're doing about it, click here.
To learn more about the attack on lawyers and the legal system (so-called "tort reform"), and our efforts to reform, defend and expand the legal system, click here.
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