Happy Constitution Day

From Larry A. Tawwater, American Association of Justice President

If You Like Your Constitutional Rights, It’s Time to Fight for Them

People don’t think a lot about their constitutional rights, until they think they’re being violated. Most of us know about the First Amendment and Second Amendment, but it’s the right to trial by jury that is mentioned twice in our Constitution. It’s that important.

Our Seventh Amendment specifically says that the right to trial by jury “shall be preserved.”

Today, more than 225 years after the U.S. Constitution was signed, there are corporations bent on eliminating your Seventh Amendment rights. They’re doing it every day by including specific language in the contracts you sign, on items you purchase, apps you download, and the terms of service you click through while online. The language says that if the company harms you or rips you off, you’ll agree to give up your right to a jury trial and, instead, have an arbitrator decide your case.

The arbitration provider is often going to be chosen by the company that harmed you. And most arbitrators aren’t required to have any legal training, or even follow the law. And, most arbitrators’ decisions have limited or no right to appeal.

It’s a rigged system. It’s forced on you. And it’s un-American.

Constitution Day is a day for celebrating the genius of the document that is the foundation of our extraordinary democracy. It is also a time to reflect upon and marvel at its enduring nature. And, it is a time to rededicate ourselves to preserving, protecting, and defending the Constitution.

The Constitution derives its power from the people and gives the power back to them. As long as the people of this country remain vigilant and protect the Constitution, the Constitution will protect their rights. Even against those who want to trick us into giving them up.

You can take a step right now to preserve your constitutional rights by demanding that nursing homes stop including forced arbitration language in the contracts they give to families who need a facility to care for their loved ones. Read more & sign our petition here.

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