http://www.constitution.org/jury/pj/fija_history.txt Because: “If a juror accepts as the law that which the judge states then that juror has accepted the exercise of absolute authority of a government employee and has surrendered a power and right that once was the citizen’s safeguard of liberty.” (1788) (2 Elliots Debates, 94, Bancroft, History of the Constitution, 267) “Jury nullification of law”, as it is sometimes called, is a traditional American right defended by the Founding Fathers. Those Patriots intended the jury serve as one of the tests a law must pass before it assumes enough popular authority to be enforced. Thus the Constitution provides five separate tribunals with veto power — representatives, senate, executive, judges and jury — that each enactment of law must pass before it gains the authority to punish those who choose to violate it. Thomas Jefferson said, “I consider trial by jury as the only anchor yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.” The power of the jury to judge the justice of the law and to hold laws invalid by a finding of “not guilty” for any law a juror felt was unjust or oppressive dates back to the Magna Carta, in 1215. At the time King John could pass any laws any time he pleased. Judges and executive officers, appointed and removed at his whim, were no more than servants of the king. The oppression became so great that the nation rose against the ruler and the barons of England compelled their king to pledge that no freeman would be punished for a violation of any laws without the consent of his peers. King John violently protested when the Magna Carta was shown to him, “and with a solemn oath protested, that he would never grant such liberties as would make himself a slave.” Afterwards, fearing seizure of his castle and the loss of his throne, he granted the Magna Carta to the people, placing the liberties of the people in their own safekeeping.