The case involving the removal of a juror because of his sexual orientation (Smithkline Beecham Corporation v. Abbott Laboratories), which is currently before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, has raised two interesting questions. The first is whether or not the U.S. should follow in the footsteps of England and abolish the peremptory challenge. Assuming the answer to the first question is no, the next question is whether Batson which prohibits exercising peremptory challenges based on race should be extended to cover sexual orientation. Batson has already been extended to cover gender and a few states have taken it upon themselves to prohibit exercising peremptory challenges based on sexual orientation. Some are predicting that regardless of the outcome of Abbott Laboratories it will go to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The LA Times editorial board has used this case to once again call for the abolishment of the peremptory challenge. According to the paper, which has long favored getting rid of peremptory challenges,
even if the Batson ruling were extended to cover sexual orientation, it would still be easy for lawyers to disguise their true motives for peremptory challenges.
To read the article in its entirety go here.