Senator Whitehouse called on all Americans to remember that the Constitution provides not just basic rights, but a mechanism to make sure that those rights cannot be trampled by wealthy and powerful interests:
The jury serves as our last sanctuary, as Americans, when the forces of society may be arrayed against us: when the governor’s mansion has been bought by special interests; when lobbyists have the legislature tied in knots; when the newspaper owners have steered public opinion against you – the hard square corners of the jury box stand firm against the influence and money of special interests.Following the keynote, a panel of legal experts discussed Supreme Court cases, labor and employment laws, and legal procedures that have benefitted wealthy corporations in the courtroom. In too many cases, corporate influence can steer an appeals court to overturn a jury verdict, or even prevent everyday Americans from putting their cases before a jury.
The panel consisted of:
- Bill Lurye, Associate General Counsel at AFL-CIO. Lurye coordinates the AFL-CIO's Judicial Project, and is a contributing editor to Employment Discrimination Law.
- Suzette Malveaux, Associate Professor of Law at the Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law. Malveaux is an expert on the impact of procedural mechanisms on civil rights.
- Jeffrey Rosen is a Professor of Law at the George Washington University, as well as the legal affairs editor of The New Republic.