Extending Batson to Sexual Orientation

A Look at Smithkline Beecham Corp. v. Abbott Labs

In Batson v. Kentucky, the Supreme Court held that discriminatory use of peremptory challenges by a prosecutor to strike a black juror based solely on race violated the Equal Protection Clause. This Note argues that Batson should be extended to prohibit discriminatory use of peremptory challenges based on sexual orientation. TheNinth Circuit has adopted this approach, recently holding both that Batson extends to sexual orientation and that heightened scrutiny applies to such challenges. The Supreme Court should uphold the Ninth Circuit’s decision as an important step on the road to securing gay rights both in the courtroom and elsewhere.

The full text of this Note is available to download as a PDF.