Bill to ban discrimination against LGBT jurors will likely die without a vote
The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee doesn’t plan to give a hearing to a bill that would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in federal jury service, his spokesperson said this week.
The bill was introduced last month by New Jersey Democrat Steve Rothman following an investigation by The American Independent documenting instances where jurors may have been removed from state and federal trials because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
Federal courts have consistently declined to prohibit attorneys from openly discriminating against LGBT people during jury selection. And as recently as last year, the U.S. Department of Justice told a panel of judges that it “takes no position” on whether the Supreme Court rulings that prohibit attorneys from removing jurors based on race or sex should be extended to cover sexual orientation.
Rothman’s legislation would “prohibit the exclusion of individuals from service on a federal jury on account of sexual orientation or gender identity.”
A spokesperson for Texas Republican Lamar Smith, chair of the House Judiciary Committee — where the bill currently awaits a hearing — said that Smith has “no plans to move the bill at this time.”
Rep. Howard Coble, a Republican from North Carolina, is the chair of the subcommittee where the bill would first be heard. Asked whether Coble supported the legislation, his spokesman told TAI that he will “reserve his judgment” on the bill until it gets a hearing. His office referred questions about a possible hearing to Smith’s office.
The office of Rep. Mike Ross, an Arkansas Democrat who serves on the Judiciary Committee, said he has no position on the bill and did not anticipate that it would get a hearing.
Still, the bill has picked up two co-sponsors in the House: Rep. Susan Davis, a Democrat from California, and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat from the District of Columbia.
Rothman, the bill’s author, didn’t return a request for comment. On Tuesday, he lost a primary election against fellow incumbent Democrat Bill Pascrell. In his concession speech, Rothman announced he would retire from politics at the end of his term.
Like this story? Steal it! Feel free to republish it in part or in full, just please give credit to The Colorado Independent and add a link to the original.
SIGN UP FOR OUR WEEKLY NEWSLETTER
The Colorado Criminal Defense Bar (CCDB) and the Community College of Denver (CCD) Paralegal Program are holding a public debate for the candidates seeking the position […]Read More
COLORADO SPRINGS — If the Republicans who flooded a university campus on Saturday in this heavily conservative military county are any indication, the governor’s race […]Read More