Why does the complexion of the Libby jury matter?

Because lots of the people who still need to be convinced of Libby’s guilt, and the evil of the Bush maladministration, won’t give full credence to the verdict of a mostly-black jury. Sad, but true.

David Bernstein asks a reasonable question: Why is the racial makeup of the Libby jury (10 whites, 2 blacks) newsworthy?

But I think the question has a simple answer: the racism of the right wing makes it politically significant.

Recall how Ollie North’s supporters scoffed at his conviction by a mostly-black jury? “Not a jury of his peers” is one of the comments I remember. A conviction by a mostly-white jury will have more credibility than the alternative, precisely among those who still need to be convinced of the feckless viciousness of the Bush Administration.

Sad, yes, but true. So I think Totenberg was reporting a relevant fact.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com