I was wondering how the word "peers" has come to be defined legally the way it has.
legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com states that legally the word is held to mean:
This has been interpreted by courts to mean that the available jurors include a broad spectrum of the population, particularly of race, national origin and gender. Jury selection may include no process which excludes those of a particular race or intentionally narrows the spectrum of possible jurors. It does not mean that women are to be tried by women, Asians by Asians, or African Americans by African Americans.
But Wikipedia supplies this definition for the non-legal usage:
People who are equal in such respects as age, education or social class, group, colleague, etc., as in peer group or social peer-to-peer processes
So the legal definition (the more diverse a group you can get the better) is pretty much the exact opposite of how the word is used in non-legal settings (the more exclusive and same-y the group is the closer peers they are). Has this always been so? What arguments are put forth to validate this weird interpretation? And how does it work in edge cases? Are citizens considered peers of foreign nationals, or do you need to ship in foreign nationals to stand as the jury for a non-citizen (or maybe they are not granted this right in the first place)?