The Jury ACCESS (Access for Capable Citizens and Equality in Service Selection) Act (S. 447) and Juror Non-Discrimination Act (H.R. 864) prevent discrimination in jury selection based on sexual orientation or gender identity. S. 447 and H.R. 864 were reintroduced in February by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-CA-53), respectively, and the Senate version received bipartisan support from Senator Susan Collins (R-ME).
The LGBT Bar worked closely with Senator Shaheen’s office in drafting and supplementing the Act to ensure that the LGBT community would be protected in federal jury non-discrimination policy.
Currently, the United States Code prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin and economic status. Failing to include sexual orientation and gender identity denies countless individuals a jury of their peers. Serving on a jury is a civic duty and to infringe upon that right is prejudicial. Equality extends to the courtroom and especially to juries. No one should be subjected to discrimination simply for performing a civil duty.
The Jury ACCESS Act would amend the federal statute to include sexual orientation and gender identity, protecting those groups from removed from a jury without cause. Striking jurors on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity would be prohibited under federal law for the first time.