Jury Nullification

Xlrq has been in a running feud with Michael Williams in this comments to this post that has taken a tangent that is interesting to me. This is the comment that caught me:

Rhesa: That makes me wonder, also: do a lot of non-Christians think right off the bat that a politician or judge who’s a Christian will go so far as to defy the law because it trumps Christian principles? Christians are told to submit to authority (and not just in the NT, either) – defying the law, as Roy Moore did where the 10C were concerned, isn’t exactly the rule here, more like the exception.

Xlrq: A lot of times, it’s not really about “defying” the law, so much as distorting it. Where the law isn’t crystal clear, it ends up being whatever the judge says it is.

In some ways, I agree that the situation is as Xlrq describes, but that isn’t the way it was supposed to work. The law isn’t crystal clear, it is supposed to be interpreted by The People. That is what we have juries for.

The jury has been under attack by the judiciary for about 80 years. The War on blacks the poor freedom drugs has been a big reason for that. So has the socialist civil rights movement. The Civil rights movement started out right, and then veered hard into authoritarianism with Affirmative Action. The People tend to be anti-authoritarian, so they would not hold this up in a jury trial — if given a chance.

That is the reason there has been a concerted effort to kill the idea of Jury Nullification. The Supreme Court is not the ultimate law of the land. The jury is. Not even the Supreme Court can say, “The jury was wrong.” When a jury speaks, that is it. No more arguing. When someone appeals a jury trial, what they are appealing is that the court did something wrong, and the jury didn’t have the whole story, or got a distorted picture. If the jury gets the whole truth, and still rules against it, you are SOL.

Back in the good old days (of slavery and such) the jury decided both the facts and the law. For example, Dred Scott didn’t have much of an effect on the state of affairs in the north. The SCOTUS decided that an escaped slave was still property. You know what? Jury after jury told them to jump in the lake. They refused to convict, and they were right.

The court system (our betters, you know) don’t like it when The People act like The People. They want us to be the people, which is entirely different. They want us to do as were told, rather than telling them what we are going to do. The SCOTUS would not be an issue on these matters if we would do our damned job, and throw out bad laws. When the court brings in a case for medical marijuana, it is the job of the jury to throw that case out and nullify they federal law.

It is our constitutional duty — the Seventh Amendment. We are the last safeguard.


  1. Excellent point regarding jury nullification, I wish I’d thought of it. Thanks for the link. However, the quote you attribute to me wasn’t made by me but by a commenter named Rhesa.

  2. Phelps says:

    Noted and corrected.