Justin Dolan


This Comment will first define the peremptory challenge and discuss its history and normative values. It will then examine the United States Supreme Court's treatment of the peremptory challenge, focusing on how the peremptory challenge has changed from a litigation device that lawyers could exercise without explanation to one that at times requires an explanation for it to survive constitutional challenge. Next, this Comment will discuss state courts' independent interpretation of fundamental rights, Washington courts' decisions in harmony with this principle, and State v. Gunwall, the guide to independent constitutional interpretation in Washington. This Comment will show that under a Gunwall analysis, religion-based peremptory challenges violate Article I, § 11 of the Washington State Constitution. Finally, this Comment will provide a new standard for evaluating religion-based peremptory challenges in Washington while ensuring that the peremptory challenge remains a useful instrument in jury selection.