Justice For All in the Classroom

Lesson Duration

Author:  Linda Weber, for Annenberg Classroom

The goal of the jury selection process in both civil and crimi- nal proceedings is to seat an impartial jury. Longstanding processes and procedures are followed to ensure that a trial is fair for the two opposing parties.  Constitutional protections apply to the rights of all private individuals in a courtroom, including prospective jurors.  In this lesson, students analyze the interplay of processes and procedures that courts use to seat an impartial jury and gain appreciation for the essential role of juries in the justice system. They also explore the responsibilities and limits placed on government by the Constitution in the context of civil and criminal trials.


Students will

  •  Identify the constitutional grounds for jury trials.
  • Compare and contrast civil trials and criminal trials through jury selection.
  • Describe the basic process for selecting an impartial jury in federal court.
  • Consider what it means to have a representative jury in an increasingly diverse society.
  • Explain the role of voir dire in the jury selection process.
  • Define peremptory challenge and explain its role in Edmonson v. Leesville.
  •  Consider the implications of the decision in Edmonson v. Leesville to justice in the United States.
  • Identify values and principles in a constitutional democracy
  • Recognize and reflect on the importance of civic dispositions


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