Georgia v. McCollum, 505 U.S. 42, 11 (1992)

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52

GEORGIA v. McCOLLUM

Opinion of the Court

ther provides that jurors are to be selected by a specified process, 15-12-42; they are to be summoned to court under the authority of the State, 15-12-120; and they are to be paid an expense allowance by the State whether or not they serve on a jury, 15-12-9. At court, potential jurors are placed in panels in order to facilitate examination by counsel, 15-12-131; they are administered an oath, 15-12-132; they are questioned on voir dire to determine whether they are impartial, 15-12-164; and they are subject to challenge for cause, 15-12-163.

In light of these procedures, the defendant in a Georgia criminal case relies on "governmental assistance and benefits" that are equivalent to those found in the civil context in Edmonson. "By enforcing a discriminatory peremptory challenge, the Court 'has . . . elected to place its power, property and prestige behind the [alleged] discrimination.' " Edmonson, 500 U. S., at 624 (citation omitted).

In regard to the second principle, the Court in Edmonson found that peremptory challenges perform a traditional function of the government: "Their sole purpose is to permit litigants to assist the government in the selection of an impartial trier of fact." Id., at 620. And, as the Edmonson Court recognized, the jury system in turn "performs the critical governmental functions of guarding the rights of litigants and 'ensur[ing] continued acceptance of the laws by all of the people' " Id., at 624 (citation omitted). These same conclusions apply with even greater force in the criminal context because the selection of a jury in a criminal case fulfills a unique and constitutionally compelled governmental function. Compare Duncan v. Louisiana, 391 U. S. 145 (1968) (making Sixth Amendment applicable to States through Fourteenth Amendment), with Minneapolis & St. Louis R. Co. v. Bombolis, 241 U. S. 211 (1916) (States do not have a constitutional obligation to provide a jury trial in civil cases). Cf. West v. Atkins, 487 U. S. 42, 53, n. 10, 57 (1988) (private

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