• Last updated on November 11, 2022

The Supreme Court extended its ruling that potential jurors could not be peremptorily excluded on the basis of race from criminal trials to include civil trials.

In Batson v. Kentucky[case]Batson v. Kentucky[Batson v. Kentucky] (1986), the Supreme Court ruled that litigants in criminal trials could not use peremptory challenges to exclude federal court jurors on the basis of race because such exclusions violated the excluded person’s Fifth Amendment rights. In this 6-3 decision, it extended its decision to civil as well as criminal trials. In his opinion for the Court, Anthony M. KennedyKennedy, Anthony M.;Edmonson v. Leesville Concrete Co.[Edmonson v. Leesville Concrete Co.] argued that even if the litigants’ private attorneys, not the state, make the exclusion, state action is involved because the attorneys are using the public court forum. Private parties must follow the same rules the state does when it uses the courts. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was joined in a forceful dissent by Justices William H. Rehnquist and Antonin Scalia, who argued that the attorneys’ challenges of jurors were essentially private choices. The dissenters rejected the idea that state action was inherent in all court proceedings.Jury composition;Edmonson v. Leesville Concrete Co.[Edmonson v. Leesville Concrete Co.]

Batson v. Kentucky

Due process, procedural

Fifth Amendment

Incorporation doctrine

Jury composition and size

State action

Strauder v. West Virginia

Williams v. Mississippi

Categories: History