Citation. 511 U.S. 127, 114 S. Ct. 1419, 128 L. Ed. 2d 89, 1994 U.S. 3121
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Brief Fact Summary.
Plaintiff, J.E.B., challenged the lower courts’ decision allowing Respondent, the state of Alabama, to use its peremptory challenges to remove all the male jurors.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits a party to use their peremptory challenges to remove jurors based on gender.
Respondent, on the behalf of a mother with a minor child, filed against Petitioner for paternity and child support. During jury selection, Respondent used their peremptory challenges to remove the male jurors, reasoning that female jurors would be more sympathetic to a woman trying to collect money from a delinquent father. Petitioner challenged the challenges, arguing that removing jurors based upon gender is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause. The Alabama courts rejected Petitioner’s claim, reasoning that discrimination based upon gender is not protected like race.
The issue is whether the Equal Protection Clause prohibits intentional discrimination in jury selection based on gender.
The majority of the United States Supreme Court held that parties should not be allowed to discriminate based upon gender when selecting a jury. The state should not be allowed to promote cynical stereotypes of the manner in which men and women weigh evidence. Women, similarly to African-Americans, have historically been discriminated against, and the Equal Protection Clause prohibits that manner of reasoning.
The Court reviewed the historical discrimination that women had to endure, and noted that it was relatively recent that women have been allowed to vote or granted certain legal rights.