Cite as: 505 U. S. 42 (1992)
O'Connor, J., dissenting
Dodson by saying: "In the ordinary context of civil litigation in which the government is not a party, an adversarial relation does not exist between the government and a private litigant. In the jury selection process, the government and private litigants work for the same end." Edmonson, 500 U. S., at 627. While the nonpartisan administrative interests of the State and the partisan interests of private litigants may not be at odds during civil jury selection, the same cannot be said of the partisan interests of the State and the defendant during jury selection in a criminal trial. A private civil litigant opposes a private counterpart, but a criminal defendant is by design in an adversarial relationship with the government. Simply put, the defendant seeks to strike jurors predisposed to convict, while the State seeks to strike jurors predisposed to acquit. The Edmonson Court clearly recognized this point when it limited the statement that "an adversarial relation does not exist between the government and a private litigant" to "the ordinary context of civil litigation in which the government is not a party." Ibid. (emphasis added).
From arrest, to trial, to possible sentencing and punishment, the antagonistic relationship between government and the accused is clear for all to see. Rather than squarely facing this fact, the Court, as in Edmonson, rests its finding of governmental action on the points that defendants exercise peremptory challenges in a courtroom and judges alter the composition of the jury in response to defendants' choices. I found this approach wanting in the context of civil controversies between private litigants, for reasons that need not be repeated here. See id., at 632 (O'Connor, J., dissenting). But even if I thought Edmonson was correctly decided, I could not accept today's simplistic extension of it. Dodson makes clear that the unique relationship between criminal defendants and the State precludes attributing defendants' actions to the State, whatever is the case in civil trials. How could it be otherwise when the underlying question is
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