Cornell Law Review


Peremptory strikes of disabled jurors, Juries, Jury service


A representative jury ensures a truly impartial trial and that all groups are able to share in this valuable opportunity for civic engagement.Though the disabled constitute a minority of the population, their viewpoint is no less necessary to securing the benefits of a representative jury than that of groups already afforded protection from discriminatory strikes. As the disabled become more represented in many areas of society, their continued underrepresentation on juries will become even more difficult to justify. Discriminatory peremptory strikes are a significant, discretionary means by which the disabled can continue to be excluded from juries even when other reforms aimed at increasing jury accessibility are put into place. Current equal protection jurisprudence provides scant protection for disabled jurors, but states can protect these jurors by statutory means, and will need to do so in order to secure the benefits of a truly representational jury.

Unfortunately, much work remains to be done on many fronts before we will begin to see a significant increase in the representation of the disabled on juries. The ADA and other legislation designed to increase the accessibility of courts has removed many of the obstacles faced by disabled persons to serving on a jury, but do little to address many other sources of underrepresentation, including juror lists that systematically exclude the disabled. Peremptory strike reform will therefore need to be only a piece of a broader legislative strategy to increase the representation of the disabled on juries, but it will be an essential piece nonetheless.