Our elementary school lessons in civics focus on the simple premise that we have three branches of government, the Executive, the Legislative and the Judicial. We are also told we have a Bill of Rights, otherwise known as the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution that were enumerated by the Founders to explicitly underscore the need to protect basic freedoms. Some of those rights we know by name and number, like Freedom of Expression (1st) and the the Right to Bear Arms (2nd). Others we have learned through popular police dramas, like the Right to be Free from Unreasonable Search and Siezures (4th), the Right Against Self-Incrimination (5th),the Right to a Speedy Trial with the Assistance of Counsel (6th) and the Prohibition Against Cruel and Unusual Punishment (8th).

We appear to have forgotten the 7th Amendment – the Right to a Trial by Jury for any matter where the controversy is in excess of $20.  Corporations, using their unfettered First Amendment Rights (which a 5-4 Supreme Court decision opines even prohibits limitations on contributions corporations can make in elections), have paid for a Congress that has literally stripped away your rights to a trial by jury under the guise of arbitration. Worse yet, your Supreme Court, in yet another 5-4 decision, says that is perfectly OK.

By the plain words of the 7th Amendment it is not. The 7th Amendment, like the other Bill of Rights, was enumerated to explicitly prevent an overreaching Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branch from eviscerating your basic freedoms. It is time to fight back.

Arbitration is a direct assault on your Bill of Rights. If Corporate America can successfully take away one of your fundamental rights, mark our words, corporations and government can take away the rest. Consumers have a voice and it is time to make those voices count.