Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sotomayor For Jury Duty?

Andrew McCarthy asks a great question about the new Supreme Court nominee: Would she be fit to serve as a juror? Prospective jurors are asked a number of times whether they harbor specific biases based on race, sex, etc. Those that do are promptly excused. I would hope this basic standard would apply to the selection of appointed-for-life justices on the nation's highest court. An exerpt:

Would Judge Sotomayor be qualified to serve as a juror? Let's say she forthrightly explained to the court during the voir dire (the jury-selection phase of a case) that she believed a wise Latina makes better judgments than a white male; that she doubts it is actually possible to "transcend [one's] personal sympathies and prejudices and aspire to achieve a greater degree of fairness and integrity based on the reason of law"; and that there are "basic differences" in the way people "of color" exercise "logic and reasoning." If, upon hearing that, would it not be reasonable for a lawyer for one (or both) of the parties to ask the court to excuse her for cause? Would it not be incumbent on the court to grant that request?

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