Bad News for the Gays: One Less Route to Get Out of Jury Duty

During a lawsuit between pharmaceutical companies about the price of HIV medications, one side struck a juror from the pool because he was gay. Stereotype much? Today a federal appeals court ruled the behavior inappropriate. Via BuzzFeed:

A federal appeals court Tuesday held that lawyers cannot exclude potential jurors from a jury based on their sexual orientation — a ruling whose underlying rationale could have broad implications outside of the case.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, in a unanimous decision, held that discrimination based on sexual orientation is subject to heightened scrutiny — a decision the court concluded has been made in action, though not in word, by the Supreme Court itself.

In describing the reason for applying the new standard, Judge Stephen Reinhardt examined the Supreme Court’s June decision in Edith Windsor’s case challenging the Defense of Marriage Act. Although equal protection claims brought based on sexual orientation have previously been judged under the lowest level of review, called rational basis, the 9th Circuit held that a higher standard now applies.

Read more at BuzzFeed here about how the DOMA ruling contributed to the decision. Apparently I’m supposed to treat this as a victory, but it will be short-lived once lawyers hear my position on jury nullification.

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  • ||

    A federal appeals court Tuesday held that lawyers cannot exclude potential jurors from a jury based on their sexual orientation...

    Can prohibiting exclusion of potential jurors based on their political orientation be far behind?

    Why, yes. Yes it can.

  • JWatts||

    Well we can't have these far right anti-state Libertarian's, conservative, Bircher's etc with their hateful, racist agendas judging people can we?

    Lawyer: Do you believe the government should continue implementing Affirmative Action policies?

    Potential juror: No.

    Lawyer: He's clearly a racist your honor.

  • db||

    So what does this.mean for exclusion of gun.owners in trials on gun related questions?

    Oh, that's right, nothing.

  • Tony||

    We aren't bestowed with guns as fetuses. The NRA is working on it though, I'm sure.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    We aren't bestowed with guns as fetuses


    Neither are we bestowed with a house or a '56 Corvette as fetuses.

    But I do have to say, your non-sequitur was delicious.

  • Contrarian P||

    Are we bestowed with health care or a minimum income as fetuses? You know, all those things you claim are human rights? Try for some consistency, would you?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    "Extraordinarily gay, Judge. Steeped in gayness."

  • OldMexican||

    A federal appeals court Tuesday held that lawyers cannot exclude potential jurors from a jury based on their sexual orientation[...]


    Equal treatment under the law, equal misery.

  • DRM||

    Stereotype? Maybe, but rooted in reality. One out of five gay men in America are HIV positive, while only 0.3% of the population as a whole is.

  • Contrarian P||

    The study on which those numbers are based sampled only 20 U.S. cities and is heavily based on estimates. While it is true that HIV is mostly a men who have sex with men disease, good numbers as to percentages infected are hard to come by.

  • prolefeed||

    One out of five gay men in America are HIV positive, while only 0.3% of the population as a whole is.

    This makes no mathematical sense. Assume 5% of the populace is composed of gay males. If one out of five of them was HIV positive, that means 1% of the population as a whole is HIV+ even if no one else at all was HIV+.

  • DRM||

    And you are assuming that 10% of males are gay because?

    Certainly, the CDC data on either percentage of men-who-have-sex-with-men who have HIV or percentage of the population that has HIV might be wrong. But to claim it "makes no mathematical sense", you have to start with something other than a baseless assumption.

  • Paul.||

    This is interesting to me. Especially considering everything I know about jury selection. Jury selection is like... like the last bastion of exclusion (or inclusion) based on the flimsiest of preconceptions by the competing attorneys. I've listened to highly paid "jury consultants" on no less than NPR say that they can tell what kind of a juror you'll be based on how you comb your hear, the shirts you wear etc. Discrimination is at the very heart of jury selection. For instance, in a state where whites make up the majority, you don't think for a second they couldn't find one (1) qualified white juror for the O.J. Simpson trial?

    I can think of tons of cases where one side or the other would love to keep gays or straight off or on a jury solely due to their sexual orientation.

  • ||

    Attorneys get a limited number of "without cause" challenges. Those never need to be explained.

    The issue here, I presume, is that sexual orientation is currently an excepted "with cause" reason to exclude a juror that the court will agree with.

  • AlmightyJB||

    One would think you are correct but anymore Im not sure you can presume anything.

  • Duke||

    No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, assless chaps, or property, without due process of law.

  • Duke||

    squirrels: *;nor

  • AlmightyJB||

    Those broncos girls looked pretty good in tbeir chaps Sunday.

  • ||

    Stereotype much?

    Isn't that kinda like, the entire basis of jury selection? It's no more unreasonable to expect that a person who belongs to a demographic group disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS might be inclined to behave out of self interest than it is to expect a person who belongs to a demographic group disproportionately affected by, say, police violence to behave out of self interest in a case involving a cop.

  • Tony||

    Ah, the old "straight white males have the least biased perception" bit.

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