1975 January 21

Women Cannot be Excluded From Jury Duty: “Taylor v. Louisiana”


The Supreme Court ruled on this day, in Taylor v. Louisiana, that Louisiana’s procedures for selecting jury pools systematically discriminated against women. In St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana, where the case originated, 53 percent of the people potentially eligible for jury duty were women, but represented only 10 percent of those on the “jury wheel” (the pool from which jurors were selected). The Court ruled that the process violated the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution.

The decision reversed Hoyt v. Florida (November 20, 1961), in which the Supreme Court had held that the exclusion of women from jury duty was not unconstitutional.

The Court: “ . . .the jury wheels, pools of names, panels, or venires from which juries are drawn must not systematically exclude distinctive groups in the community, and thereby fail to be reasonably representative thereof.”

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

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