Fact Check: Supreme Court's SEC V. Jarkesy Decision Does NOT Entitle Child Support Defendants To Jury Trials

Fact Check

  • by: Ed Payne
Fact Check: Supreme Court's SEC V. Jarkesy Decision Does NOT Entitle Child Support Defendants To Jury Trials Federal Only

Does the Supreme Court decision in Securities and Exchange Commission v. Jarkesy mean that child support defendants are entitled to a trial by jury? No, that's not true: Legal experts contacted by Lead Stories said SEC v. Jarkesy doesn't apply at the state and local levels. The decision is based on the Seventh Amendment, which pertains solely to federal agencies and courts.

The claim appeared in a post and video on Instagram on July 2, 2024, under the on-screen title "SEC V. JARKESY 😳 CHILD SUPPORT FAKE HEARINGS MAY BE DONE!" The post's caption said:

GROUNDBREAKING‼️ Supreme Court ruling June 27, 24. We are guaranteed our Seventh Amendment Rights to a trial by jury! #childsupportisfraud

This is what the post looked like on Instagram at the time of writing:


(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Wed Jul 3 16:48:10 2024 UTC)

The post provided no attribution or other evidence to substantiate its claim that the Supreme Court ruling means child support defendants are entitled to a trial by jury.

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Jarkesy

The social media post refers to the SEC v. Jarkesy, a Supreme Court case decided on May 27, 2024. In a 6-3 decision, the Court ruled that when the SEC pursues civil penalties for securities fraud, the Seventh Amendment grants the defendant the right to a jury trial.

The SEC monitors securities exchanges, brokers, dealers, investment advisors and mutual funds to ensure fair practices, disclose crucial market information and prevent fraud.

Legal experts

Vic Brown Hill, a family law and appellate attorney in Marietta, Georgia, told Lead Stories via Messenger on July 3, 2024, that he sees no way the ruling could have an impact on child support hearings. He said:

Jarkesy specifically states that it is relative to the SEC practice of administrative hearings and the effect of the seventh amendment on that practice. ...

First, child support is not a federal issue. This opinion and the seventh amendment apply to federal cases -- expressly. ...

This is a state v. federal question.

Hill pointed out that in many states defendants already have the right to a jury trial in child support cases, including Georgia, where he practices law.

In a July 3, 2024, email to Lead Stories, Alexander Volokh, an associate professor at Emory University School of Law, echoed Hill, saying this Supreme Court ruling has nothing to do with child support cases. He said:

The Jarkesy decision relies on the Seventh Amendment civil jury trial right. Most of the Bill of Rights applies equally to the federal and state governments, but the Seventh Amendment is an exception; it only applies against the federal government.

So the Seventh Amendment applies to the federal government agencies and courts (i.e., all federal agencies, not just the SEC), but not to state and local government agencies and courts.

Child support (to my knowledge) is a purely state matter, so Jarkesy seems to have no relevance there.

Read more

Other Lead Stories fact checks of claims related to the Supreme Court can be found here.

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  Ed Payne

Ed Payne is a staff writer at Lead Stories. He is an Emmy Award-winning journalist as part of CNN’s coverage of 9/11. Ed worked at CNN for nearly 24 years with the CNN Radio Network and CNN Digital. Most recently, he was a Digital Senior Producer for Gray Television’s Digital Content Center, the company’s digital news hub for 100+ TV stations. Ed also worked as a writer and editor for WebMD. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, Ed is the author of two children’s book series: “The Daily Rounds of a Hound” and “Vail’s Tales.” 

Read more about or contact Ed Payne

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