Peremptory Challenge – a final, absolute challenge to a juror that a party may exercise without having to give a reason

adj. (15c)

1. Allowing no opportunity for challenge or contradiction; absolute.

2. Imperious; autocratic. [1]

1. Final; positive; conclusive. [2]

1. Final; absolute; conclusive; incontrovertible <The king’s peremptory order>.

2. Not requiring any shown cause; arbitrary <peremptory challenges>.

3. (Of behavior) abrupt, with neither politeness nor friendliness, indicating an expectation of immediate obedience. [3]

peremptory challenge:

1. A challenge to a  juror that a party may exercise without having to give a reason. [1]

1. A challenge to a juror to be exercised by a party to a civil action or criminal prosecution without assignment of reason or cause.  Bufford v State, 148 Neb 38, 26 NW2d 383.

A challenge to a  judge without assignment of reason or cause.  Austin v Lambert, 10 Cal 2d 73, 77 P2d 849, 115 ALR 849. [2]

1. One of a party’s limited number of challenges that do not need to be supported by a reason unless the opposing party makes a prima facie showing that the challenge was used to discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, or sex.  *  At one time, a peremptory challenge could not be attacked and did not have to be explained. But today if discrimination is charged, the party,making the peremptory challenge must give a nondiscriminatory reason for striking the juror.  The court must consider several factors in deciding whether the proffered reason is merely a screen for illegal discrimination. Batson v. Kentucky, 476 US. 79, 106 S.Ct. 1712 (1986). — Often shortened to peremptory. — aka peremptory strike; sight strike. See STRIKE (2); Batson challenge.

n. (18c)

1. Slang. To strike (a prospective juror) by peremptory challenge <prosecutors perempted the defendant’s neighbor>.

2. Slang. To exercise a peremptory challenge <both sides had plenty of opportunities to perempt>.  *  The difference between sense 1 and sense 2 is that sense 1 is transitive, whereas sense 2 is intransitive.  This slangy verb, a linguistic backformation from the adjective peremptory, is often mispronounced as if it were preempt — an entirely different word.

To quash, do away with, or extinguish. [3]


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[1]: Ballantine’s Law Dictionary Legal Assistant Edition by Jack Ballantine (James Arthur 1871-1949).  Doctored by Jack G. Handler, J.D. © 1994 Delmar by Thomson Learning.  ISBN 0-8273-4874-6.

[2]: Ballantine’s Law Dictionary with Pronunciations
Third Edition
 by James A. Ballantine (James Arthur 1871-1949).  Edited by William S. Anderson.  © 1969 by THE LAWYER’S CO-OPERATIVE PUBLISHING COMPANY.  Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 68-30931

[3]: Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black, Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-61300-4


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