Stevens, J., dissenting
preter's English translation of trial testimony given in Spanish. Because the prosecutor's explanation was directly related to the particular case to be tried, it satisfied the second prong of the Batson standard. Moreover, as the Court of Appeals noted, 25 F. 3d, at 683, the plurality opinion in Hernandez expressly observed that striking all venirepersons who speak a given language, "without regard to the particular circumstances of the trial," might constitute a pretext for racial discrimination. 500 U. S., at 371-372 (opinion of Kennedy, J.).7 Based on our precedent, the Court of Appeals was entirely correct to conclude that the peremptory strike of juror 22 violated Batson because the reason given was unrelated to the circumstances of the trial.8
7 True, the plurality opinion in Hernandez stated that explanations unrelated to the particular circumstances of the trial "may be found by the trial judge to be a pretext for racial discrimination," 500 U. S., at 372, and thus it specifically referred to the third step in the Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U. S. 79 (1986), analysis. Nevertheless, if this comment was intended to modify the Batson standard for determining the sufficiency of the prosecutor's response to a prima facie case, it was certainly an obtuse method of changing the law.
8 In my opinion, it is disrespectful to the conscientious judges on the Court of Appeals who faithfully applied an unambiguous standard articulated in one of our opinions to say that they appear "to have seized on our admonition in Batson . . . that the reason must be 'related to the particular case to be tried,' 476 U. S., at 98." Ante, at 768-769. Of course, they "seized on" that point because we told them to. The Court of Appeals was following Batson's clear mandate. To criticize those judges for doing their jobs is singularly inappropriate.
The Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit is not the only court to have taken our admonition in Batson seriously. Numerous courts have acted on the assumption that we meant what we said when we required the prosecutor's neutral explanation to be "related to the particular case to be tried." See, e. g., Jones v. Ryan, 987 F. 2d 960, 974 (CA3 1993); Ex parte Bird, 594 So. 2d 676, 682-683 (Ala. 1991); State v. Henderson, 112 Ore. App. 451, 456, 829 P. 2d 1025, 1028 (1992); Whitsey v. State, 796 S. W. 2d 707, 713-716 (Tex. Crim. App. 1989); Jackson v. Commonwealth, 8 Va. App. 176, 186-187, 380 S. E. 2d 1, 6-7 (1989); State v. Butler, 731 S. W. 2dPage: Index Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Next
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