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The right of trial by jury in civil cases is enshrined in the Seventh Amendment, primarily to preserve the common law distinction between the province of the court (which decides issues of law) and the province of the jury (which decides questions of fact), a distinction of great importance in the 18th century, although taken for granted now.

The Seventh Amendment states:

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.