1965 July 15

New York Abolishes Elite “Blue Ribbon” Juries


New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller signed a bill on this day that abolished the practice of elite “blue ribbon” juries in the state. Passed in the 1930s, the old law allowed counties with populations of more than one million to create “special” juries composed of persons from high economic and educational levels.

The law was rarely used outside of New York City and had been opposed by bar associations, the state Democratic Party, and civil liberties groups. Blue ribbon juries, including grand juries, were an elitist approach to the administration of justice with a long tradition in American criminal justice.

Learn more about the constitutionality of “blue ribbon” juries: http://scholarlycommons.law.northwestern.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3501&context=jclc

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

Find a Day

Abortion Rights ACLU african-americans Alice Paul anti-communism Anti-Communist Hysteria Birth Control Brown v. Board of Education Censorship CIA Civil Rights Civil Rights Act of 1964 Cold War Espionage Act FBI First Amendment Fourteenth Amendment freedom of speech Free Speech Gay Rights Hate Speech homosexuality Hoover, J. Edgar HUAC Japanese American Internment King, Dr. Martin Luther Ku Klux Klan Labor Unions Lesbian and Gay Rights Loyalty Oaths McCarthy, Sen. Joe New York Times Obscenity Police Misconduct Same-Sex Marriage Separation of Church and State Sex Discrimination Smith Act Spying Spying on Americans Vietnam War Voting Rights Voting Rights Act of 1965 War on Terror Watergate White House Women's Rights Women's Suffrage World War I World War II Relocation Camps


Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear your comments, criticisms and suggestions!