The US Supreme Court has been asked to review a state court’s decision to remove Christian jurors from an employment case.
While the Missouri court found the jurors would be impartial, it still removed them “to err on the side of caution.” The plaintiff in the case was in a same sex relationship and her attorney claimed the Christian jurors would treat her as ‘less than everyone else.”
Missouri Attorney-General Andrew Bailey petitioned the Supreme Court to rule on whether the Fourteenth Amendment prevents the removal of jurors because of their faith. That amendment provides everyone with “equal protection under the law.”
“Jurors can be excluded, of course, if their religious views in fact make them biased, just like jurors can be excluded if their race or sex in fact makes them biased,” the petition notes. “But this Court’s precedents make clear that courts cannot assume, based on stereotypes about race or sex, that a person will be biased. The same should be true of religion.”
The Daily Caller reports the petition argues the case’s reasoning had “no limiting principle.”
Mr. Bailey argued: “If religious jurors determined by the court to be fair can be struck simply because the case happens to involve a plaintiff in a same sex relationship, then to ‘err on the side of caution,’ a court could categorically strike all Mormons from a contract dispute involving a sports bar because of their religious views on alcohol. It could automatically strike Jews in a tort case involving a party operating a motor vehicle on a Saturday. And it could automatically strike Muslims from a case involving underpaying employees at a restaurant that serves pork.”
He added that “nearly every case involving a strike based on religion” involves a racial minority, “raising the question over whether jurors in some cases are being struck for religion as a pretext for race.”
“As Attorney General, I will protect the Constitution and Missourians’ right to be free from religious discrimination, which is explicitly enshrined in the Constitution. The Constitution isn’t up for debate. My office will use every legal mechanism available to us to defend the fundamental right to be free from religious discrimination, inside and outside of the jury box.”