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In 1985, James Batson, still smarting from a failed appeal in the Kentucky Supreme Court bidding to overturn burglary and stolen goods convictions, brought his case to the United States Supreme Court. He alleged that his Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment rights had been violated by a Kentucky prosecutor.

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“It’s not as simple as just ferreting out overt racism, because … if it’s that overt, we already have checks in place to deal with it,” Colora…