Women on Juries–The TV Dinner Theory

One of the not-so-thrilling decisions of the Supreme Court was Hoyt v. Florida, a 1961 case that upheld a statute statute that women could only serve on a petit jury if they affirmatively registered with the clerk of the court.  (Men were automatically registered.)  I was curious to look at the briefs in the case, and here is a passage from the one urging the Court to uphold the law:

“Ever since the dawn of time conception has been the same. Though many eons may have passed, the gestation period in the human female has likewise remained unchanged. Save and except for a number of beneficial precautions presently available, parturition is as it well may have been in the Garden of Eden. The rearing of children, even if it be conceded that the socio-psychologists have made inroads thereon, nevertheless remains a prime responsibility of the matriarch. The home, though it no longer be the log cabin in the wilderness, must nevertheless be maintained. The advent of “T.V.” dinners does not remove the burden of providing palatable food for the members of the family, the husband is still, in the main, the breadwinner, child’s hurts are almost without exception, bound and treated by the mother.”




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