On April 19,1994, the United States Supreme Court held in J.E.B. v. Alabama that the Equal Protection clause prohibits gender-based discrimination during jury selection.
Justice Blackmun, who authored the majority opinion, explained– “Equal opportunity to participate in the fair administration of justice is fundamental to our democratic system. It not only furthers the goals of the jury system. It reaffirms the promise of equality under the law — that all citizens, regardless of race, ethnicity, or gender, have the chance to take part directly in our democracy. [citation excluded] (“Indeed, with the exception of voting, for most citizens the honor and privilege of jury duty is their most significant opportunity to participate in the democratic process”). When persons are excluded from participation in our democratic processes solely because of race or gender, this promise of equality dims, and the integrity of our judicial system is jeopardized.” Listen to an interesting news conference about this case at the Supreme Court at http://goo.gl/HsgWqi.