Batson Revisited

Author:Nancy S. Marder
Position:Professor of Law & Director of the Jury Center, Chicago-Kent College of Law
Pages:1585-1612
 
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1585
Batson Revisited
Nancy S. Marder
INTRODUCTION .................................................................................... 1586
I. EXAMINING BATSONS INEFFECTIVENESS .............................................. 1588
A. GIVING REASONS ............................................................................ 1589
B. BEING DEFERENTIAL ....................................................................... 1592
C. EVISCERATING BATSON .................................................................. 1593
II. REASSESSING THE AMERICAN THEORY OF JUROR BIAS ......................... 1595
III. EXPLORING ALTERNATIVE THEORIES OF JUROR BIAS .......................... 1600
A. THE ENGLISH THEORY ................................................................... 1600
B. THE PROCESS THEORY ................................................................... 1601
IV. DESIGNING JURY SELECTION ACCORDING TO THE PROCESS THEORY
OF JUROR BIAS ...................................................................................... 1606
A. ELIMINATING PEREMPTORY CHALLENGES ....................................... 1607
B. PRESERVING FOR-CAUSE CHALLENGES ............................................. 1610
C. MAINTAINING VOIR DIRE ................................................................ 1610
CONCLUSION ....................................................................................... 1611
Professor of Law & Director of the Jury Center, Chicago-Kent Colle ge of Law. I thank
James Tomkovicz for organizing this conference and the Iowa Law Review for publishing the
papers from this conference. My thanks, as always, to Jeremy Eden for reading early drafts and
giving me helpful suggestions.
1586 IOWA LAW REVIEW [Vol. 97:1585
INTRODUCTION
The twenty-fifth anniversary of Batson v. Kentucky1 provides an important
moment to reflect on Batson and to consider how this seminal case and its
progeny2 have affected the use and abuse of peremptory challenges. I had
initially welcomed the U.S. Supreme Court’s approach to peremptory
challenges in Batson back in 1986. Although Batson was a compromise3
preserving peremptories while seeking to address discriminatory
peremptories—it had the noble goal of trying to eliminate discrimination
during jury selection. I also embraced its expansion over the years. The logic
of Batson was inexorable: just as prosecutors should not be permitted to use
peremptories to eliminate African Americans as jurors, so too, defense
attorneys4 and civil parties5 should be similarly constrained. Just as African
Americans should not be subjected to discriminatory peremptories, so too,
members of any race,6 ethnicity,7 or gender8 should not be subjected to
discriminatory peremptories. However, over time I developed serious doubts
that Batson and its progeny could achieve their central goal of eliminating
discrimination during jury selection.9 Now, with twenty-five years of
experience, we can look back and see just how ineffective Batson has been.
This anniversary is an appropriate juncture to renew the call for the
elimination of the peremptory challenge, echoing Justice Thurgood
Marshall’s recommendation in his Batson concurrence twenty-five years
ago.10
1. Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79, 89 (1986) (holding that a prosecutor’s use of a
peremptory challenge based on race violates the Equal Protection Claus e of the Fourteenth
Amendment to the U.S. Constitution).
2. See infra notes 4–6, 8, 16 (describing the cases that expanded the reach of Batson).
3. Batson, 476 U.S. at 126–27 (Burger, C.J., dissenting) (describing Batson as a “curious
hybrid”).
4. See Georgia v. McCollum, 505 U.S. 42, 59 (1992) (extending Batson to defense
attorneys).
5. See Edmonson v. Leesville Concrete Co., 500 U.S. 614, 616 (1991) (extending Batson
to civil parties).
6. See Powers v. Ohio, 499 U.S. 400, 402 (1991) (holding that a Batson challenge can be
made by a defendant of any race whenever the prosecutor exercises a peremptory based on
race).
7. See Hernandez v. New York, 500 U.S. 352, 355 (1991) (noting that a Batson challenge
can be made on the basis of ethnicity, but finding that in this case the prosecutor’s reasons for
exercising peremptories against two Latino prospective jurors were race neutral).
8. See J.E.B. v. Alabama ex rel. T.B., 511 U.S. 127, 129 (1994) (holding that gender-based
peremptory challenges violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fou rteenth Amendment).
9. See Nancy S. Marder, Beyond Gender: Peremptory Challenges and the Roles of the Jury, 73 TEX.
L. REV. 1041 (1995) [hereinafter Marder, Beyond Gender]; Nancy S. Marder, Justice Stevens, the
Peremptory Challenge, and the Jury, 74 FORDHAM L. REV. 1683 (2006) [hereinafter Marder, The
Peremptory Challenge].
10. Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79, 102–03 (Marshall, J., concurring).

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