Blind Lawyer Helped End Discrimination in Jury Selection

Paul Kay, a Washington, D.C, lawyer who had been rejected from jury duty twice because of his blindness, played a crucial role in ending discrimination against people who are blind in the D.C. court system.  Kay passed away on January 7 at the age of 71. 

For a long time, it was standard practice for the D.C. Superior Court to reject all blind candidates from serving on juries. In 1993, after being rejected from jury selection the second time, Kay persuaded Jim Nathanson, then-D.C. Council member, to introduce a bill prohibiting the court from automatically disqualifying blind jury candidates. The bill was passed by the council later that year.

“I didn’t realize blind people were excluded [from jury duty]. I wouldn’t have known about it without [Mr. Kay],” said Jim Nathanson, former D.C. council member.