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Dialogue on the American Jury

Trial by jury is a vital part of American democracy. Besides voting, nothing is so active and participatory in nature. The Dialogue on the American Jury is designed to help high school classrooms and community groups explore the many issues related to trial by jury. We encourage lawyers and judges across the country to organize Dialogues in their community.

About the Dialogue on the American Jury

The Dialogue on the American Jury offers several options for exploring different topics on the American jury. You can download the Dialogue by clicking on the individual parts (I, II, III) below.

  • Part I provides material for a Dialogue on the history of trial by jury.
  • Part II explores issues confronting the jury today, including unanimous verdicts, exemptions from service, punitive damages, and terrorism and trial by jury.
  • Part III looks at four landmark rulings on the jury for a case-centered Dialogue.

To order a free print copy of the Dialogue, please call 1-800-285-2221 and request PC# 2350216. Additional copies (up to 50) may also be ordered at a price of $0.50 each.

How to Do a Dialogue

Select the appropriate topic for your audience in consultation with the classroom teacher or community group leader. Our tips on How to Do a Dialogue on the American Jury provide a step-by-step plan for organizing a Dialogue at a high school in your community. You might also find our Ground Rules for Ensuring a Civil Conversation helpful for high school audiences.

For all audiences, we encourage you to use the Anticipation Guide at the beginning of your Dialogue as a way to help your audience define their opinions on the topics they will discuss. You can also use the Anticipation Guide again at the end of the Dialogue to see if anyone's opinions about the American jury have changed.

ABA Dialogue Program

The Dialogue on the American Jury is the third installment in the ABA Dialogue Program. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy introduced in the first Dialogue program, the Dialogue on Freedom, at the 2002 ABA Midyear Meeting in Philadelphia. In 2003, the ABA introduced the Dialogue on Brown v. Board of Education to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court's landmark ruling.