Another Take on Diversity: The Problem with an All-Female Jury

Arin N. Reeves
October 2013

In Ballard v. United States (329 U.S. 187, 1946), the U.S. Supreme Court held that systematic exclusion of women from jury pools violated the Constitution.

Exclusion by process (women not being asked to serve on juries even though they were eligible) was deemed to be as detrimental as exclusion by legislation (laws excluding women from being eligible to serve).

The court went so far as to say: “It is said, however, that an all-male panel drawn from the various groups within a community will be as truly representative as if women were included.

“The thought is that the factors which tend to influence the action of women are the same as those which influence the action of men — personality, background, economic status — and not sex. … But, if the shoe were on the other foot, who would claim that a jury was truly representative of the community if all men were intentionally and systematically excluded from the panel?”

Think Smarter. Lead Better.

  • In our work and in our living, we must recognize that difference is a reason for celebration and growth, rather than a reason for destruction.

    Audre Lorde
  • Diversity creates dimension in the world.

    Elizabeth Ann Lawless
  • Where all think alike, no one thinks very much.

    Walter Lippmann
  • I not only use all the brains that I have, but all I can borrow.

    Woodrow Wilson
  • One must even beware of too much certainty that the answer to life's problems can only be found in one way and that all must agree to search for light in the same way and cannot find it in any other way.

    Eleanor Roosevelt
  • The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.

    Albert Einstein
  • Peace is not unity in similarity but unity in diversity, in the comparison and conciliation of differences.

    Mikhail Gorbachev
  • Honest difference of views and honest debate are not disunity. They are the vital process of policy among free men.

    Herbert Hoover
  • Wit lies in recognizing the resemblance among things which differ and the difference between things which are alike.

    Madame De Stael
  • The biggest mistake is believing there is one right way to listen, to talk, to have a conversation -- or a relationship.

    Deborah Tannen
  • Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilisation.

    Mahatma Gandhi
  • There never were in the world two opinions alike, no more than two hairs or two grains; the most universal quality is diversity.

    Michel de Montaigne
  • Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.

    Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • It is not that I'm so smart. But I stay with the questions much longer.

    Albert Einstein
  • America has believed that in differentiation, not in uniformity, lies the path of progress. It acted on this belief; it has advanced human happiness, and it has prospered.

    Louis D. Brandeis
  • Honest difference of views and honest debate are not disunity.They are the vital process of policy among free men.

    Herbert Hoover
  • Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.

    Stephen R. Covey
  • To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.

    Tony Robbins
  • Difference of opinion is helpful in religion.

    Thomas Jefferson
  • Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.

    Stephen R. Covey
  • The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.

    F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in.

    Isaac Asimov
  • Wide differences of opinion in matters of religious, political, and social belief must exist if conscience and intellect alike are not to be stunted, if there is to be room for healthy growth.

    Theodore Roosevelt
  • When we lose the right to be different, we lose the privilege to be free.

    Charles Evan Hughes
  • Diversity and independence are important because the best collective decisions are the product of disagreement and contest, not consensus or compromise.

    James Surowiecki
  • Differences challenge assumptions.

    Anne Wilson Schaef
  • Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs.

    Leo Tolstoy
  • Diversity: the art of thinking independently together.

    Malcolm Forbes
  • Controversial' as we all know, is often a euphemism for 'interesting and intelligent.

    Kevin Smith