U.S. Supreme Court Quote

“It may not be amiss, here, Gentleman, 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 recognizes 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. ... 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.”

~ U.S. Supreme Court

Georgia v. Brailsford, 3 U.S. 1, 4 (1794)

Ratings and Comments

Cal, lewisville, tx

Jurors have the need to decide if the law is just in the first place. I'm sure juries in each state would decide differently.

Mike, Norwalk

At natural law, at common law - that being the premise of all jurisprudence in the de jure U.S.A., the presumption is: that the judges (jurors) are the ultimate and sole filter of law and fact. The executor of the court (now recognized as the trained up judge; in law and fact NOT) simply enforces decorum (order, rules of criminal / civil procedure, etc.) The judges / jurors don't just have the "right to take upon themselves"; - they possess the right inherently. A third party disinterested 'judge' does not legitimately enter the equation of best judge of law in a jury trial setting. The Supreme Court, in a non-appellate / original jurisdiction setting, is explained well by the quote (even though they are one in the same). This decision was one of the court's earliest moves to gradually expand their power.

J Carlton, Calgary

From nobler times than these.


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