1937 September 5

“Ladies of the Jury” Make First New York Appearance


It was reported on this day that women had begun serving on juries in New York State for the first time. A New York law permitting, but not requiring, women to serve on juries had become effective on September 1, and the first jury with women had been empaneled in upstate New York. New York became the 22nd state to allow women on juries, and some states had been allowing jury service for decades. In Utah, women were serving on juries in the 1890s.

The struggle to achieve full access of women to jury duty took many decades. On November 20, 1961, the Supreme Court held a Florida law restricting the right of women to serve on juries. But on January 21, 1975, it struck down a Louisiana law and established a clear right of women to serve on juries.

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

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

And more from the ACLU: https://www.aclu.org/blog/womens-rights/jury-ones-peers

Read a path-breaking 1927 article by Burnita Matthews, the first female federal judge on women as jurors: http://wlh.law.stanford.edu/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/the-woman-juror-15wlj151927.pdf

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