Post submitted by Brian Moulton, Former HRC Legal Director
Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) have reintroduced bipartisan legislation to prohibit discrimination against LGBT people in a fundamental part of American citizenship – serving on juries in federal court.
The bill, the Jury Access for Capable Citizens and Equality in Service Selection (ACCESS) Act, which was first introduced in the 112th Congress, prohibits attorneys from seeking to strike potential federal jurors based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. A story in the American Independent last May detailed how this remains an all-too-real problem – denying LGBT people the opportunity to engage in public service and depriving litigants of the right to be judged by a jury representative of their community. Last week, Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-CA) introduced a similar bill in the House of Representatives, the Juror Non-Discrimination Act.
In introducing the bill, Senator Shaheen noted, “Our country is founded on the principles of inclusion, acceptance, and equality. The jury selection process in federal courts should reflect those principles.”
We thank Senators Shaheen, Collins, and Whitehouse – as well as Congresswoman Davis – for championing this issue and all of their tireless advocacy on behalf of LGBT people.