Courts: An End to Peerless Juries

Picking a panel of jurymen has rarely been much of a problem for many federal court clerks. They have simply gone to "key men" in big cities—the head of the Kiwanis, perhaps, or the Chamber of Commerce boss—and asked for suggestions. Not surprisingly, those who have been recommended have usually been white and comparatively affluent. Judges have tended to approve the system because the lists produced educated juries.

Trouble was, the method systematically excluded the lower classes, particularly blue-collar workers and Southern Negroes, who might otherwise be qualified. Many a criminal defendant complained—not without reason—that such people hardly constituted a...

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