Sunday, November 24, 2013

J.E.B. v. Alabama ex rel. T.B. case brief

J.E.B. v. Alabama ex rel. T.B. case brief summary
511 U.S. 127 (1994)

Petitioner, putative father, sought certiorari review of a decision of the Court of Civil Appeals of Alabama, which denied petitioner's claim that respondent State should not have been allowed to exercise peremptory challenges on the basis of gender, and that affirmed the trial court's decision that the Fourteenth Amendment did not protect the exercise of gender-based peremptory challenges, in a paternity and support suit against petitioner.

Respondent had filed a complaint for paternity against petitioner. Respondent used most of its peremptory challenges to remove male jurors. As a result, the jury was comprised of all women. Petitioner claimed that respondent's use of peremptory challenges to exclude male jurors on the basis of their gender violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The appellate court upheld the trial court's ruling that the Fourteenth Amendment did not extend to gender-based peremptory challenges.


  • In reversing the appellate court's decision, the Court held that the Fourteenth Amendment prohibited discrimination in jury selection on the basis of gender regardless of whether the challenge involved a male or female. 
  • Respondent cited studies that concluded that women and men had varying attitudes as support for its gender-based peremptory challenges. 
  • The Court held that respondent's reasoning did not provide an exceedingly persuasive justification for gender-based discrimination. 
  • As a result, respondent's exercise of peremptory challenges to exclude male jurors violated the Equal Protection Clause.

The Court reversed the judgment and remanded the case to the court of appeals for further proceedings.

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