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January 2008

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INTRODUCTION There are few cases that inform our collective understanding of the American jury system more than Batson v. Kentucky. This case serves as a touchstone in Equal Protection jurisprudence and can be viewed as "the [U.S. Supreme Court's] most ambitious attempt to impose meaningful prohibitions on the use of race-based peremptory challenges." This case and its progeny provide a framework for the protection of the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause and also implicate the Sixth Amendment's jury-trial guarantees. The Batson holding has been expanded to guard not only against the wrongful exclusion of jurors based upon race, but also against improper exclusions based upon gender and ethnicity. It remains to be seen whether the Court will expand the Batson rationale to include exclusions based upon either sexual orientation6 or religion.

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