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?”

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