The full letter is available at: http://bit.ly/1DCabwx
WASHINGTON, D.C., February 5, 2015:Thirty-five consumer, civil rights, and environmental organizations are calling on Congress to protect the right of all Americans to stand up for their rights in court.
“Our courts must be places where even those who feel they are denied a voice in the political process know they will be heard,” the groups wrote in a letter sent today to Congressional leaders. “We reject efforts to silence or diminish those voices.”
“One month into the 114th Congress, we are already seeing efforts to close the courthouse doors to everyday Americans” said Nan Aron, president of Alliance for Justice. “Every member of Congress needs to defend the Seventh Amendment, which guarantees the right of all Americans to trial by jury, by opposing practices that undermine that right, such as forced arbitration and arbitrary limits on the ability of consumers to band together.”
The letter notes that
Our civil justice system is how we hold wrongdoers accountable so they act safely and behave responsibly. It is how the public learns of threats to their health, safety, and wellbeing. It is also how people who are injured or otherwise wronged are compensated for their injuries and losses.
For our civil justice system to live up to these ideals, our courts must provide a level playing field where all Americans are provided unfettered access to a fair hearing and where compensation decisions are based on evidence evaluated by impartial decision-makers. … We urge you to bear in mind [these] values … and the promise of “equal justice under law,” and to reject those proposals that threaten individuals’ access to the civil justice system.
Alliance for Justice, www.afj.org believes that all Americans have the right to secure justice in the courts and to have their voices heard when government makes decisions that affect their lives. We are a national association of over 100 organizations, representing a broad array of groups committed to progressive values and the creation of an equitable, just, and free society. Through our justice programs, we lead the progressive community in the fight for a fair judiciary, and through our advocacy programs, we help nonprofits and foundations to realize their advocacy potential.