News (USA)

Senate committee includes juror non-discrimination in appropriations bill

Senate committee includes juror non-discrimination in appropriations bill

WASHINGTON — Legislation that would prohibit discrimination against LGBT citizens in the federal jury selection process has been included in the Financial Services Appropriations bill for fiscal 2014, following a Senate committee markup earlier this week.

The Senate Appropriations Committee included language from the bipartisan Jury ACCESS (Access for Capable Citizens and Equality in Service Selection) Act in the bill, which would amend federal statute to prohibit the practice of striking jurors in federal courts on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The measure was introduced earlier this year by U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).

Shaheen said anti-LGBT discrimination “simply has no place in the United States,” and that the judicial process “should represent our nation’s principles of inclusion and acceptance, and eliminating the discriminatory exclusion of LGBT jurors is a necessary step to meeting that goal.”

“Jury service is an important public service, and I am pleased that the committee has adopted our language that would prohibit potential jurors from being dismissed for service in federal trials based solely on sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Collins, in a statement.

Currently, U.S. Code prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin and economic status during jury selection in federal courts.

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