The Death of the American Trial

The Death of the American Trial

Robert P. Burns

Print publication date: 2013

ISBN: 9780226081267

Publisher: University of Chicago Press


This book makes a case for reversing the rapid decline of the trial before we lose one of our public culture's greatest achievements. As a practice that is adapted for modern times yet rooted in ancient wisdom, the trial is uniquely suited to balance the tensions—between idealism and realism, experts and citizens, contextual judgment and reliance on rules—that define American culture. Arguing that many observers make a grave mistake by taking a complacent or even positive view of the trial's demise, the author concludes by laying out the catastrophic consequences of losing an institution that so perfectly embodies democratic governance.