Juror Non-Discrimination Act/Jury ACCESS Act

The Problem

During the process of jury selection, attorneys for both plaintiffs and defendants have a limited number of opportunities to strike potential jurors without providing a specific reason, through what are called “peremptory challenges.”  However, the Supreme Court has ruled using such challenges to exclude a juror because of his or her race or gender is unconstitutional.  In addition, federal law prohibits discrimination in service on a federal jury based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin and economic status.  Unfortunately, neither the Court nor federal law has yet to prohibit discrimination in jury service based on sexual orientation or gender identity.  As a result, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people can be – and have been – denied the ability to serve on juries.  Such discriminatory treatment undermines the justice system and could hurt crime victims by preventing a fair trial by a jury of their peers. This could have particularly negative impacts on victims or defendants who are LGBTQ.

What is the Juror Non-Discrimination Act/Jury ACCESS Act?

The Juror Non-Discrimination Act and Jury Access for Capable Citizens and Equality in Service Selection (ACCESS) Act prohibits attorneys from seeking to strike potential federal jurors based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. 

Whatwas the Status of the Bill in the 114th Congress?

The Juror Non-Discrimination Act was reintroduced in the 114th Congress in the House of Representatives by Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA) on February 11, 2015.  The Jury ACCESS Act was reintroduced in the Senate by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Susan Collins (R-ME) on February 11, 2015. Neither bill was voted on in the 114th Congress.


What is the Current Status of the Bill?

The Juror Non-Discrimination Act/Jury ACCESS Act have not yet been reintroduced in the 115th Congress.


For more information, please contact legislation@hrc.org. Read about other Federal Legislation pertinent to the LGBTQ community here.

Last Updated: January 4, 2017