Interesting article in the OP’s link. Some statements that especially caught my eye:
At the heart of the trend, some experts say, are fundamental questions about whether jurors who return huge awards and sometimes clear people who seem to be guilty are up to the task that has been assigned to them for centuries.
Of course, some other experts say that complaints about “huge awards” are largely exaggerated in order to garner support for “tort reform” measures that limit the restitution available to injured parties and garner savings for insurers and other businesses—savings that in fact are seldom passed on to consumers. (In fact, punitive damages are awarded in less than 5% of civil jury cases.) But nobody seems to have bothered asking any of those experts for an opinion when writing this article.
*Because George W. Bush made what proponents call “reform” of the civil justice system a priority when he was governor of Texas[…] *
What opponents such as TexasWatch call it, of course, is something else again: something that the NYT apparently felt didn’t need to be said.
Not everyone is critical of the trend limiting the role of juries. Some legal scholars, judges and business lawyers say that reining in juries is a necessity in an overloaded legal system. Others argue that juries must be controlled to limit excesses, and curb prejudices like hostility to big corporations.
Many “legal scholars, judges and business lawyers”, of course, argue precisely the opposite; but nobody seems to have felt it necessary to mention their position. The only people the article mentions as being “critical of the trend limiting the role of juries” are a couple of jurors.
In a new survey of 594 federal trial judges nationally, 27.4 percent said juries should decide fewer types of cases.
That is, slightly more than one-quarter of the judges surveyed agreed with what this article is trying to present as a “trend limiting the role of juries,” and they are the only ones whose views are mentioned. I’d be rather interested to know what the large majority who didn’t agree with it had to say, wouldn’t you?
Diminishing the authority of the civil jury: unfortunate necessity for the sake of judicial fairness because jurors are “no longer up to the task”, or smear campaign spearheaded by insurers and other business interests to limit their liability exposure? There are arguments on both sides, but you’d never know it from reading that New York Times article. And people still talk about the “liberal bias” of major news media—honestly, sometimes I just have to laugh.