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Taylor v. Louisiana


TAYLOR V. LOUISIANA, 419 U.S. 522 (1975). Billy Taylor, accused of rape, appealed to the Supreme Court claiming that a state law exempting women from jury duty infringed on his Sixth Amendment right to be tried by an impartial jury. The Court ruled in Taylor's favor, invalidating all state laws restricting jury duty on the basis of gender. In Louisiana women could be called for jury service only if they filed a written declaration of their willingness to serve. As a result, most Louisiana juries, including the one that convicted Taylor, were all-male. Louisiana's practice was similar to one that the Court had unanimously upheld in Hoyt v. Florida (1961), a decision that sustained the Florida law as a reasonable concession to women's family responsibilities. The Court had implied acceptance of states' exclusion of women from grand juries as recently as 1972. But Taylor ended special treatment for women. The Court quoted from an earlier case: "Who would claim that a jury was truly representative of the community if all men were intentionally and systematically excluded from the panel?" In Duren v. Missouri (1979) the Court extended its ruling in Taylor to a Missouri law allowing women to be exempted from jury service on the basis of their gender. Since Taylor, jury duty has been a responsibility shared equally by men and women.


Baer, Judith A. Women in American Law. New York: Holmes and Meier, 1985–1991.

Judith A.Baer/a. r.

See alsoCivil Rights and Liberties ; Jury Trial ; Women's Rights Movement: The 20th Century .

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