The Sixth Amendment refers to:

"an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law"

Presumably this originally applied to federal offenses and the "districts" were federal judicial districts. Later the Fourteenth Amendment was construed as applying to the states as much as to the federal government. Would that mean "districts" could mean districts within which the courts of a state have jurisdiction?

1 Answer 1


The key phrase here is:

... which district shall have been previously ascertained by law

That means the relevant "district" must be specified by law. In the case of a state criminal case, by state law. In some states it would be a county, when the relevant court is a county court. In any case, it would be whatever district the relevant court of criminal jurisdiction had as its area of jurisdiction.

  • So is it correct that because of the 14th Amendment this is considered to apply to the states rather than only to the federal government? Commented Feb 14, 2023 at 22:06
  • 1
    @Michael Yes, that is correct. This, like many provisions of the Federal Bill of rights, has been applied (or incorporated) to the states via the 14th. Commented Feb 16, 2023 at 3:39

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