We find it worthy of note that Alabama has managed to maintain its struck-jury system even after the ruling in Batson, despite the fact that there are counties in Alabama that are predominately African-American. The injury is to personal dignity and to the individual's right to participate in the political process. Since Batson, we have reaffirmed repeatedly our commitment to jury selection procedures that are fair and nondiscriminatory. The Equal Protection Clause and our constitutional tradition are based on the theory that an individual possesses rights that are protected against lawless action by the government. See also Lewis, supra, ; United States v.
The litigants are harmed by the risk that the prejudice which motivated the discriminatory selection of the jury will infect the entire proceedings. Yet a flavor, a distinct quality is lost if either sex is excluded. Women's rights leaders Susan B. Though we gain much from this statement, we cannot ignore what we lose. Litigants get impartial juries that contain a fair cross section of the community.
In point of fact, that may well be its greater value. Indeed, far from having suffered harm, petitioner, a state actor under our precedents, see Georgia v. While demographic reality places some limit on the number of cases in which race-based challenges will be an issue, every case contains a potential sex-based claim. If a woman was subject to capital punishment, or if a widow sought postponement of the disposition of her husband's estate until birth of a child, a writ de ventre inspiciendo permitted the use of a jury of matrons to examine the woman to determine whether she was pregnant. The pattern here, however, displays not a systemic sex-based animus but each side's desire to get a jury favorably disposed to its case.
In those counties, it presumably would be as difficult to come up with race-neutral explanations for peremptory strikes as it would be to advance gender-neutral explanations. See Abrahamson, Justice and Juror, 20 Ga. As a result, respondent contends, some litigants may be unable to come up with gender-neutral explanations for their strikes. To disregard it is to open the door to class distinctions and discriminations which are abhorrent to the democratic ideals of trial by jury. Justia Annotations is a forum for attorneys to summarize, comment on, and analyze case law published on our site.
In recent cases, we have emphasized that individual jurors themselves have a right to nondiscriminatory jury selection procedures. Rehnquist, , Date of Decision: April 19, 1994 Decision: The Supreme Court sent J. That a trial lawyer's instinctive assessment of a juror's predisposition cannot meet the high standards of a challenge for cause does not mean that the lawyer's instinct is erroneous. Respondent argues that we should recognize a special state interest in this case: the State's interest in establishing the paternity of a child born out of wedlock. This pool is called a venire.
Will we preclude her from using her peremptory challenges to ensure that the jury of her peers contains as many women members as possible? We have recognized that, whether the trial is criminal or civil, potential jurors, as well as litigants, have an equal protection right to jury selection procedures that are free from state-sponsored group stereotypes rooted in, and reflective of, historical prejudice. Kentucky, -in which this Court held that the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits peremptory strikes based solely on race-extend to forbid gender-based peremptory challenges. The same should be true for gender. United States, ; Thiel v. North Carolina, , 942 1986 opinion concurring in denial of certiorari. Since Batson, we have reaffirmed repeatedly our commitment to jury selection procedures that are fair and nondiscriminatory. See Rudolph, Women on Juries-Voluntary or Compulsory? Neither slaves nor women could hold office, serve on juries, or bring suit in their own names, and married women traditionally were denied the legal capacity to hold or convey property or to serve as legal guardians of their own children.
Recognition must be given to the fact that those eligible for jury service are to be found in every stratum of society. That explains why peremptory challenges coexisted with the Equal Protection Clause for 120 years. Women were thought to be too fragile and virginal to withstand the polluted courtroom atmosphere. Each party gets a limited number of peremptory challenges. Wise observers have long understood that the appearance of justice is as important as its reality. Alabama is free to adopt whatever jury-selection procedures it chooses so long as they do not violate the Constitution. Not surprisingly, all of our post- Batson cases have dealt with the use of peremptory strikes to remove black or racially identified venirepersons, and all have described Batson as fashioning a rule aimed at preventing purposeful discrimination against a cognizable racial group.
Illinois, internal quotation marks and citations omitted. I write separately to discuss some of these costs, and to express my belief that today's holding should be limited to the government's use of gender-based peremptory strikes. Jurors get the right to participate in the justice system regardless of sex. A plethora of studies make clear that in rape cases, for example, female jurors are somewhat more likely to vote to convict than male jurors. Neither slaves nor women could hold office, serve on juries, or bring suit in their own names, and married women traditionally were denied the legal capacity to hold or convey property or to serve as legal guardians of their own children.
Kendrick, Journal of the Joint Committee of Fifteen on Reconstruction, 39th Congress, 1865-1867, pp. A decision to stress one line of argument or present certain witnesses before a mostly female jury — for example, to stress that the defendant victimized women — becomes, under the Court's reasoning, intentional discrimination by a state actor on the basis of gender. Vaughan's all-male jury convicted her of murder and the court sentenced her to death. The exclusion of even one juror for impermissible reasons harms that juror and undermines public confidence in the fairness of the system. For purposes of the Equal Protection Clause, an individual denied jury service because of a peremptory challenge exercised against her on account of her sex is no less injured than the individual denied jury service because of a law banning members of her sex from serving as jurors. Neither does it conflict with a State's legitimate interest in using such challenges in its effort to secure a fair and impartial jury.
Petitioner argued that the logic and reasoning of Batson v. Private civil litigants are just that — private litigants. In this country, supporters of the exclusion of women from juries tended to couch their objections in terms of the ostensible need to protect women from the ugliness and depravity of trials. Failing to provide jurors the same protection against gender discrimination as race discrimination could frustrate the purpose of Batson itself. Of course the relationship of sex to partiality would have been relevant if the Court had demanded in this case what it ordinarily demands: that the complaining party have suffered some injury. Since all groups are subject to the peremptory challenge and will be made the object of it, depending upon the nature of the particular case it is hard to see how any group is denied equal protection.