Presentation Title

The Legacy of Batson v. Kentucky: Race, Jury Selection, and Justice

Abstract

Batson v. Kentucky (1986) aimed to curb racial discrimination in jury selection for criminal trials by prohibiting the use of peremptory challenges for racial reasons. This paper argues that Batson has inefficiently addressed this problem. Racial discrimination still occurs in jury selection, which harms defendants, jurors, minority communities, and the judiciary itself. Batson did not do enough to mitigate this harm. In this paper, possible solutions to this problem are analyzed using a synthesis of previous work on this topic and original qualitative research. It is ultimately argued that the best solution would be to eliminate peremptory challenges altogether. The peremptory system is inherently at odds with the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which justifies the abolition of this system. We risk the occurrence of injustices if we allow juries to be selected unfairly, and eliminating peremptories will make the system more fair, while also fixing the holes in Batson’s procedure.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Lisa Holmea

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

College of Arts and Sciences

Program/Major

Political Science

Primary Research Category

Social Sciences

Secondary Research Category

Arts & Humanities

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The Legacy of Batson v. Kentucky: Race, Jury Selection, and Justice

Batson v. Kentucky (1986) aimed to curb racial discrimination in jury selection for criminal trials by prohibiting the use of peremptory challenges for racial reasons. This paper argues that Batson has inefficiently addressed this problem. Racial discrimination still occurs in jury selection, which harms defendants, jurors, minority communities, and the judiciary itself. Batson did not do enough to mitigate this harm. In this paper, possible solutions to this problem are analyzed using a synthesis of previous work on this topic and original qualitative research. It is ultimately argued that the best solution would be to eliminate peremptory challenges altogether. The peremptory system is inherently at odds with the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which justifies the abolition of this system. We risk the occurrence of injustices if we allow juries to be selected unfairly, and eliminating peremptories will make the system more fair, while also fixing the holes in Batson’s procedure.