Language Disenfranchisement in Juries: A Call for Constitutional Remediation

Jasmine B. Gonzales Rose

Volume 65, Issue 3, 811-864

Approximately thirteen million U.S. citizens, mostly Latinos and other people of color,
are denied the right to serve on juries due to English language requirements and despite
the possibility (and centuries-old tradition) of juror language accommodation. This
exclusion results in the underrepresentation of racial minorities on juries and has a
detrimental impact on criminal defendants, the perceived legitimacy of the justice system,
and citizen participation in democracy. Yet, it has been virtually ignored. This Article
examines the constitutionality of juror language requirements, focusing primarily on
equal protection and the fair cross section requirement of the Sixth Amendment. Finding
the existing juridical framework to be wanting, this Article introduces Critical
Originalism—a melding of antisubordination deconstruction principles of Critical Race
Theory with the interpretive methodology of Originalism Theory—as a new method of
ascertaining and capturing the discriminatory intent behind a statute or procedural rule.

Full Article