In the late 1960s, dockets in federal courts were becoming increasingly crowded, the backlog of criminal cases having more than doubled in the decade 1958-68. One suggestion for relieving pressure on the dockets was reduction of jury size in civil jury trials from 12 to some lesser number. In the absence of a constitutional amendment, however, the seventh amendment appeared to bar such a reduction in jury size. Nevertheless, within the span of a few years the Supreme Court was to announce a series of decisions which eliminated the constitutional significance of the number 12 and permitted the adoption of the 6-member jury. This judicial revolution reached its culmination last Term in Colgrove v. Battin, which eliminated the requirement of a 12-member jury in civil trials in federal courts.
Mark S. Davidson,
Constitutional Law—Trial by Jury Guaranty of Seventh Amendment: Local Court Rule May Establish Number of Jurors at Six in Federal Civil Cases—Colgrove v. Battin, 413 U.S. 149 (1973),
49 Wash. L. Rev.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.uw.edu/wlr/vol49/iss4/6