The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., is a non-profit corporation formed to assist African Americans to secure their rights by the prosecution of lawsuits. Its purpose includes rendering legal aid without cost to African Americans suffering injustice by reason of race who are unable, on account of poverty, to employ legal counsel on their own. For many years, its attorneys have represented parties and have participated as amicus curiae in this Court and in the lower state and federal courts.

The Fund has a long-standing concern with the influence of racial discrimination on the criminal justice system. It has raised jury discrimination claims in appeals from criminal convictions, pioneered in the affirmative use of civil actions to end jury discrimination, represented the defendant in Swain v. Alabama, 380 U.S. 202 (1965), and filed an amicus brief in Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986). The Fund has also participated in a number of cases involving the influence of race upon the administration of capital punishment.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is a nationwide, non-profit, nonpartisan organization with nearly 300,000 members dedicated to the principles of liberty and equality embodied in the Constitution. The ACLU of Northern California, the ACLU of Southern California, and the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, are its affiliates in the state of California where this action arose.

Since its founding in 1920, the ACLU has been particularly concerned with combatting the problems of racial discrimination in the criminal justice system. For example, the ACLU played an important role in overturning the infamous Scottsboro convictions in Powell v. Alabama, 287 U.S. 45 (1932). More importantly, the ACLU has been deeply involved in the effort to eliminate the discriminatory use of peremptory challenges. See e.g. Batson v. Kentucky, supra.

This case once again brings the issue of racial discrimination in the criminal justice system to the forefront. As this Court has previously recognized, even the appearance of discrimination has a corrosive effect on public confidence in the administration of justice. The actual existence of discrimination is obviously incompatible with our most basic notions of due process and equal protection. The proper resolution of this case is, therefore, of critical importance to the Fund, and to the ACLU and its members.