Domiciled in the Moorish Divine and National Movement

The Time

By : Prince Green El

34 Thus, when Congress committed to administrative determination the finding of a violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act with the discretion to fix a fine for a violation, the charged party being able to obtain judicial review of the administrative proceeding in a federal court of appeal and the fine being collectible in a suit in federal court, the argument that the absence of a jury trial in the process for a charged party violated the Seventh Amendment was unanimously rejected. “At least in cases in which ‘public rights’ are being litigated—e. g., cases in which the government sues in its sovereign capacity to enforce public rights created by statutes within the power of Congress to enact— the Seventh Amendment does not prohibit Congress from assigning the factfinding function and initial adjudication to an administrative forum with which the jury would be incompatible.”

35 On the other hand, if Congress assigns such cases to Article III courts, a jury may be required. In Tull v. United States,

36 the Court ruled that the Amendment requires trial by jury in civil actions to determine liability for civil penalties under the Clean Water Act, but not to assess the amount of penalty. The penal nature of the Clean Water Act’s civil penalty remedy distinguishes it from restitution-based remedies available in equity courts, and therefore makes it a remedy of the type that could be imposed only by courts of law.

37 However, a jury need not invariably determine the remedy in a trial in which it must determine liability. Because the Court viewed assessment of the amount of penalty as involving neither the “substance” nor a “fundamental element” of a common-law right to trial by jury, it held permissible the Act’s assignment of that task to the trial judge.

Later, the Court relied on a broadened concept of “public rights” to define the limits of congressional power to assign causes of action to tribunals in which jury trials are unavailable. In Granfinanciera, S. A. v. Nordberg,

38 the Court declared that Congress “lacks the power to strip parties contesting matters of private right of their constitutional right to a trial by jury. The Seventh Amendment test, the Court indicated, is the same as the Article III test for whether Congress may assign adjudication of a claim to a non-Article III tribunal.

39 As a general matter, “public rights” involve “ ‘the relationship between the government and persons subject to its authority,’” whereas “private rights” relate to “ ‘the liability of one individual to another.’”

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