The People's Peremptory Challenge and Batson: Aiding the People's Voice and Vision Through the 'Representative' Jury

Author:Andrew E. Taslitz
Position:Visiting Professor of Law and, as of August 2012, Professor of Law, Washington College of Law, American University; former Assistant District Attorney, Philadelphia, Pa
Pages:1675-1712
 
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1675
The People’s Peremptory Challenge and
Batson: Aiding the People’s Voice and
Vision Through the “Representative” Jury
Andrew E. Taslitz
I. INTRODUCTION: THE JURY AND THE BODY OF THE PEOPLE ................. 1677
II. OCULAR JUSTICE .................................................................................. 1679
A. OCULAR DEMOCRACY: AN OVERVIEW .............................................. 1679
1. The Gaze ............................................................................... 1679
2. Candor .................................................................................. 1681
3. Candor’s Benefits ................................................................. 1681
a. Revelation ........................................................................ 1681
b. Egalitarianism ................................................................. 1682
c. Solidarity .......................................................................... 1683
4. Tweaking Ocular Democracy .............................................. 1684
B. JURY TRIALS AS OCULAR DEMOCRACY ............................................. 1685
1. The Criminal-Procedure Protections of the
Bill of Rights ......................................................................... 1685
2. The Candid, Eventful Trial .................................................. 1688
a. Limited Government-Witness Image Control ...................... 1688
b. Eventfulness ..................................................................... 1690
c. Face-to-Face Confrontation ................................................ 1691
C. JURY DIVERSITY AND ITS LINK TO HUMBLED LEADERS AND THE
PEOPLES SOLIDARITY ..................................................................... 1692
1. All the People ....................................................................... 1692
a. Groupiness ....................................................................... 1692
b. Scorn ................................................................................ 1694
i. Active Scorn ............................................................ 1695
ii. Passive Scorn ........................................................... 1696
2. Humbling Our Leaders and Their Agents ......................... 1698
3. Seeing with All the People’s Eyes ........................................ 1702
Visiting Professor of Law and, as of August 2012, Professor of Law, Washington
College of Law, American University; former Assistant Distri ct Attorney, Philadelphia, Pa.; J.D.,
University of Pennsylvania, 1981; B.A., Queens College of the City University of New York,
1978. The author thanks Professor James Tomkovicz for his invitation to participate in this
symposium.
1676 IOWA LAW REVIEW [Vol. 97:1675
III. VOCAL (DELIBERATIVE) DEMOCRACY .................................................. 1706
A. POPULIST DELIBERATIVE DEMOCRACY AND THE CONSTRUCTED
VOICE ............................................................................................ 1706
B. RACIAL DIVERSITY AND THE PEOPLES VOICE ................................... 1707
IV. CONCLUSIONS ...................................................................................... 1710
2012] THE PEOPLE’S PEREMPTORY CHALLENGE 1677
I. INTRODUCTION: THE JURY AND THE BODY OF THE PEOPLE
Batson v. Kentucky famously held that the Equal Protection Clause
prohibits prosecutors from purposely using peremptory challenges to excuse
jurors because of their race.1 This Essay argues that understanding Batson’s
original social function first requires understanding the jury’s political
functions.2
Courts and commentators often speak of the jury’s role as representing
the “People” or the “community” in the courtroom.3 But what does that
mean? Jurors are not elected like members of Congress, and juries are too
small to provide an adequate sample of the public’s views.4 This Essay argues
that a kernel of an answer to the question of what it means for a jury or a
prosecutor to “represent” the People lies in Batson and its precedential
children. That answer in turn has implications for justifying Batson,
modifying it, and bringing its spirit into ethical training in prosecutors’
offices.
My argument here is two-fold. First, the jury “represents” the People by
acting for the good of the People as a whole in performing tasks that all the
members of the People could not themselves collectively perform. It is not
the content of any particular jury verdict—guilty or not guilty—that matters
but the very process of jury observation and deliberation that itself brings
about political benefits on behalf of all the People.5 The jury does not,
therefore, simply mirror preexisting views of the People on a particular
case6—there are no such views—but rather engages in a process of verdict
1. Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79, 89 (1986).
2. My focus is on Batson’s original context: the racially discriminatory use of peremptories
by prosecutors, not on the various other contexts to which later cas e law extended Batson. See
Antony Page, Batson’s Blind-Spot: Unconscious Stereotyping and the Peremptory Challenge, 85 B.U. L.
REV. 155, 164–66 & nn.47–51 (2005) (summarizing case law extending Batson to defense
counsel, civil cases, gender, and ethnicity).
3. See, e.g., AKHIL REED AMAR, THE BILL OF RIGHTS: CREATION AND RECONSTR UCTION 94–
96, 100 (1998) (insisting that juries represent the People); Eric L. Muller, Solving the Batson
Paradox: Harmless Error, Jury Representation, and the Sixth Amendment, 106 YALE L.J. 93, 97 (1996)
(arguing that a jury “represents the community”).
4. For a detailed discussion of the problem of sample size in deliberative political
institutions, see JAMES S. FISHKIN, WHEN tHE PEOPLE SPEAK: DELIBERATIVE DEMOCRACY AND
PUBLIC CONSULTATION 18–20 (2009).
5. Defending the very ideas of a “common good” and of a “People” is beyond the scope
of this Essay. The social reality of these concepts is assumed. See generally Andrew E. Taslitz, The
Jury and the Common Good: Synthesizing the Insights of Modern and Postmodern Legal Theories, in FOR
THE COMMON GOOD: A CRITICIAL EXAMINATION OF LAW AND SOCIAL CONTROL 312–50 (R.
Robin Miller & Sandra Lee Browning eds., 2004) [hereinafter The Common Good] (defending
the idea of a common good, particularly in the context of the jury t rial); ANDREW E. TASLITZ,
RECONSTRUCTING THE FOURTH AMENDMENT: A HISTORY OF SEARCH AND SEIZURE, 1789–1868,
at 71 (2006) [hereinafter RECONSTRUCTING THE FOURTH AMENDMENT] (offering one definition
of peoplehood).
6. See TASLITZ, RECONSTRUCTING THE FOURTH AMENDMENT, supra note 5, at 31–32
(explaining the “mirror theory” of political representation).

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