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America is the most litigious nation on earth. American jurisprudence is patterned on British “common law” and follows much the same rules as in our colonial days. Concepts such as “innocent until proven guilty,” right to a jury trial of one’s peers, right of appeal, and the difference between civil and criminal standards (“preponderance of the evidence” versus “beyond the shadow of a reasonable doubt”) and all those Latin phrases (res gestae, res ipsa loquitor, stare decisis (reliance on precedent) and habeas corpus (a writ requiring appearance before a court) and rules such as the ability to plead the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution are blessings of our judicial system. Should these rights be suspended, we are in trouble.

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