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In 2020 and then again in 2021, former President Donald John Trump faced an impeachment trial. Prior to each, a parade of Senators—charged with acting as jurors in the matter—publicly stated their verdict preference, some even discounting the need for evidence. In our federal court system, citizens with a felony criminal history are permanently barred from serving as a juror. In justifying this categorical exclusion, courts and lawmakers primarily allege that those who have been convicted of a felony lack the requisite character to serve, as they have shown a propensity to flout the law. In short, proponents of exclusion argue that those with felony convictions—if allowed to take part in jury service—would corrupt and delegitimize the process. This essay argues that by openly defying their oath to deliver “impartial justice,” a number of U.S. Senators strengthened the already compelling case for including citizens with a felony criminal history in the federal jury pool.

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