Meghan Daly

Document Type

Supreme Court Commentaries

Publication Date



Peremptory Challenge, Racial Discrimination, Equal Protection

Subject Category

Constitutional Law | Supreme Court of the United States


Historically, peremptory challenges were thought necessary to ensure fair and impartial juries, but the tactic has also been widely used by prosecutors for racially discriminatory purposes. This Commentary previews an upcoming Supreme Court case, Foster v. Chatman, that deals with alleged discriminatory peremptory challenges which led to striking all black jurors from a jury trial. Even though the prosecution had offered race-neutral reasons for those strikes, this Commentary argues that the evidence shows that the underlying rational was, in reality, racial discrimination. For that reason, this Commentary argues that the Court should find this case to fall under the prohibition of peremptory challenges based on discriminatory purpose.