In Downes v. Bidwell, 182 U.S. 244, 282-283 (1901), the Supreme Court equated the right to “free access to courts of justice” with the rights of freedom of expression, freedom to worship, and freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures and noted that all of them were “indispensable to a free government.” Here’s the full quote:
We suggest, without intending to decide, that there may be a distinction between certain natural rights enforced in the Constitution by prohibitions against interference with them, and what may be termed artificial or remedial rights which are peculiar to our own system of jurisprudence. Of the former class are the rights to one’s own religious opinions and to a public expression of them, or, as sometimes said, to worship God according to the dictates of one’s own conscience; the right to personal liberty and individual property; to freedom of speech and of the press; to free access to courts of justice, to due process of law, and to an equal protection of the laws; to immunities from unreasonable searches and seizures, as well as cruel and unusual punishments; and to such other immunities as are indispensable to a free government.
Does the current Supreme Court so respect the 7th Amendment right to a jury trial for civil suits? See my previous post.