1937 April 6

Julia Sims First Woman Foreperson of a Federal Grand Jury


As reported in The New York Times on this day, Julia Sims was the first woman ever to serve as the Foreman (Foreperson) of a federal grand jury. The grand jury was seated in Newark, New Jersey.

A month later, on May 24, 1937, New York state passed a law allowing women on juries, and on September 5, 1937 the first women took their places on juries.

Women were barred from serving on trial juries in several states until the 1960s. The Supreme Court originally upheld restrictions on women serving on juries, in Hoyt v. Florida, on November 20, 1961, but later declared such restrictions unconstitutional, in Taylor v. Louisiana, on January 21, 1975.

Learn more about the history of women and juries: http://www.msmagazine.com/summer2004/justverdicts.asp

  Learn more: https://www.aclu.org/blog/womens-rights/jury-ones-peers

Read about the history of juries: Dennis Hale, The Jury in America: Triumph and Decline (2016)

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