J.E.B. v. Alabama
Background and Facts
Mother is seeking child support from a man who claims not to be the father of her child. The State of Alabama filed suit on behalf of the Mother. At petitioner’s paternity and child support trial, respondent State removed male jurors by using 9 out of 10 of its peremptory challenges. The trial court empanelled an all-female jury and found petitioner to be the father of the child in question and ordered him to pay child support. The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals affirmed.
In the Language of the Court
The U.S. Supreme Court held that the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits peremptory strikes based solely on race, and it ...view middle of the document...
The Equal Protection Clause protects against discrimination that serves to ratify and perpetuate invidious, archaic, and overbroad stereotypes of women’s and men’s abilities.
In considering permissibility of peremptory challenges based on gender, the Court does not weigh the value of peremptory challenges as an institution against the commitment to eradicate invidious discrimination. The Court reviews the peremptory challenges based on gender stereotypes and determines whether they provide substantial aid to litigant’s effort to secure a fair and impartial jury.
The importance placed on participation in the judicial process makes it wrongful to exclude jurors based on discriminatory selection and gender or racial bias. This case extends the protections against racial bias to gender bias. Because of the state’s participation in perpetuation of invidious group stereotypes, the community suffers and the result is inevitable loss of confidence in the judicial system. State-sanctioned discrimination negatively impacts the entire judicial system.
“Restricting jury service to only special...