The institution of trial by jury in criminal cases, one of the great achievements in the history of civilization and a principal foundation of our federal constitutional order, is to day under challenge by two different by interrelated developments in American courtrooms. The first is the development of a broad national imperative to eliminate all aspects of racism in American legal, political, and social life. The second is the heightened scrutiny that electronic media presence is applying to the jury system. This essay explores the utility and fairness of the American trial jury and its premise as a democratic and representative body, and makes suggestions for how the court empaneling process may be improved.

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