Since its creation, the Batson Challenge has been widely criticized as a failure. It does not prevent discrimination in the jury selection process, has no bite, and does not serve as an adequate incentive to prevent discriminatory practices. The Supreme Court of the United States has had multiple opportunities in the last thirty years to strengthen the Challenge’s framework to better achieve the intended results with the creation of the Batson Challenge but has refused to do so. This Note acknowledges the need for change and explores the implications that the Black Lives Matter Movement has on the sense of urgency for reform as the United States faces mass protests and public discussion on the Black Lives Matter Movement.
The Black Lives Matter Movement has brought criminal justice reform to the forefront of American politics and public debate. As the Movement becomes more recognized, its members, supporters, and opposition will inevitably become part of the jury selection process in some capacity. Following a “Summer of Protests” in 2020, thousands of protestors have already been arrested and will soon be defendants who have a right to a fair jury. On the other side of the counsel table, proponents and opponents of the Black Lives Matter Movement will be among the jury pools selected across the country. The current Batson Challenge framework is wholly inadequate to protect the rights of defendants and potential jurors. As a correction to this issue, this Note recommends abolishing the peremptory strike and suggests redrafting Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 24 to expand the strike for cause.