Georgia v. McCollum, 505 U.S. 42, 27 (1992)

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O'Connor, J., dissenting

whether the accused "c[an] be described in all fairness as a state actor"? 500 U. S., at 620. As Dodson accords with our state action jurisprudence and with common sense, I would honor it.


What really seems to bother the Court is the prospect that leaving criminal defendants and their attorneys free to make racially motivated peremptory challenges will undermine the ideal of nondiscriminatory jury selection we espoused in Batson, 476 U. S., at 85-88. The concept that the government alone must honor constitutional dictates, however, is a fundamental tenet of our legal order, not an obstacle to be circumvented. This is particularly so in the context of criminal trials, where we have held the prosecution to uniquely high standards of conduct. See Brady v. Maryland, 373 U. S. 83 (1963) (disclosure of evidence favorable to the accused); Berger v. United States, 295 U. S. 78, 88 (1935) ("The [prosecutor] is the representative not of an ordinary party to a controversy, but of a sovereignty . . . whose interest . . . in a criminal prosecution is not that it shall win a case, but that justice shall be done").

Considered in purely pragmatic terms, moreover, the Court's holding may fail to advance nondiscriminatory criminal justice. It is by now clear that conscious and unconscious racism can affect the way white jurors perceive minority defendants and the facts presented at their trials, perhaps determining the verdict of guilt or innocence. See Developments in the Law—Race and the Criminal Process, 101 Harv. L. Rev. 1472, 1559-1560 (1988); Colbert, Challenging the Challenge: Thirteenth Amendment as a Prohibition against the Racial Use of Peremptory Challenges, 76 Cornell L. Rev. 1, 110-112 (1990). Using peremptory challenges to secure minority representation on the jury may help to overcome such racial bias, for there is substantial reason to believe that the distorting influence of race is minimized on a racially mixed jury. See id., at 112-115; Developments in

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