Press Releases

Rep. Katie Porter Introduces Bill Prohibiting Discrimination in Federal Jury Service

Legislation would prevent exclusion from jury duty on account of age or disability

During Disability Awareness Month, Representative Katie Porter (D-CA) and Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA) introduced the Disability and Age in Jury Service Nondiscrimination Act to prohibit excluding a person from federal jury service based on disability or age. Current federal law prohibits excluding a potential juror on account of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or economic status, but allows discrimination against seniors and people with disabilities. 

“Allowing Americans with disabilities or seniors to be categorically excluded from juries threatens the foundation of our legal system,” said Rep. Porter. “I’m proud to work with Senator Markey to reintroduce a bill that puts an end to this discrimination and helps our country live up to our values of liberty and justice for all.”

“Our judicial system is rooted in the right of every person to stand trial in front of a jury of their peers—and that includes seniors and people with disabilities. That also means that every American adult deserves the opportunity to fulfill this sacred civic duty no matter their age or disability,” said Sen. Markey. “Our legislation will create a jury of peers that truly reflects the diverse communities across our country. I am committed to fighting for equal opportunity in our judicial system so that no one experiences this type of discrimination.”

The Disability and Age in Jury Service Nondiscrimination Act would also provide for reasonable accommodations so that qualified disabled jurors can perform their duties. 

Original cosponsors of the House bill include Representatives Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA), and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL).

Congresswoman Porter continues to stand up for people with disabilities and older Americans. She’s dedicated to protecting people with disabilities from discrimination in all areas of life, whether seeking an organ transplant, finding health insurance coverage, or serving on a jury. Rep. Porter championed legislation lowering the threshold families can use to deduct medical expenses from federal taxes, reducing costs for millions of households with major health care needs. She continues to fight to protect Social Security and improve accessibility across the government.

The Disability and Age in Jury Service Nondiscrimination Act is endorsed by Access Ready, Alliance for Justice, American Association for Justice, American Council of the Blind, American Foundation for the Blind, American Geriatrics Society, The Arc, Bay State Council of the Blind, Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, Disability Rights Advocates, Gerontological Society of America, Hearing Loss Association of America, Justice in Aging, National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, National Association of the Deaf, National Federation of the Blind, Paralyzed Veterans of America, United Spinal Association, and VisionServe Alliance.

Read the entire bill HERE.