Trial by jury is a good example of a check and balance marginalized in modern America. In early American history, juries had the power to determine if a law was reasonable and they were also privy to all the information regarding a case. That is no longer the situation. Judges dictate to juries what information they need and are instructed they must apply the case to the law as it is written. For instance, juries in the Nebbia v. New York case could not find the grocer innocent for selling milk for under nine cents a quart because they viewed the law as an obvious infringement on the grocer’s right to contract or to work. [i] In other words, sovereignty has been wrestled away from “We the people” at the expense of more judiciary and legislative power. Furthermore, a vital check and balance against the judicial and legislative branches have been rescinded.
[i] David Barton, The Founders Bible, Shiloh Road Publishing, Newberry Park CA, 2012, 332, 1723