The Civil Jury as a Political Institution

The debate over the civil jury in the United States -- in both the academic literature and public domain -- tends to focus on how good or bad it is as an adjudicative institution.  But its justification has always been as a political institution.

Though the civil jury’s role as a political institution has strong historical roots, its place in our contemporary political system has received relatively little sustained scholarly attention.  This Symposium aims to build on recent work taking a renewed look at the various justifications for the civil jury as a political institution: as an instrument of popular sovereignty, a vehicle for applying community norms in law, a source of democratic legitimacy,  and a check on government and corporate power. 

We expect to bring together a group of people from different disciplines, including law, political science and psychology, to bring both theoretical and empirical perspectives to bear on this important set of issues.

The Symposium will be held February 22-23, 2013, and papers submitted as part of the symposium will be published in Volume 55 of the William & Mary Law Review.  Contact Melody Nichols at IBRL@wm.edu for registration or additional information.