I was very surprised this morning to hear NPR's Nina Totenberg mention--more like emphasize--that ten of the twelve jurors in the Scooter Libby obstruction of justice trial are white, and two are black. I've been trying to figure out what possible relevance this has, and haven't been to come up with anything. Is there any reason to believe that whites are easier or harder on obstruction of justice defendants than are blacks? Am I missing something? If I'm right that it's not relevant, I think it's poor practice to mention individuals' race.
UPDATE: Commenters have suggested the relatively obvious proposition that the jury pool was out of sync with D.C.'s population, and perhaps of its jury pool. If so, so what? Is Totenberg claiming that there was a racially discriminatory selection of juries? Or, regardless of whether there was such "foul play," the composition of the jury pool was likely to favor one side or the other? (as discussed in the comments, it's not at all clear whether the racial composition of the jury helps Libby or the government). Certainly, either of these things would be relevant, and the former even important. But all I heard was the statement that the jury pool has such and such many whites and blacks, and also men and women. But, in the absence of a discussion of either of the claims suggested above, it seems quite gratuitous to me. Are we still at such a point in our history that, as some commenters suggest, it's routine in any publicized case, regardless of whether the case has a racial angle, to point out the jurors' race? Put another way, if the jury had seven blacks and five whites, roughly mimicking D.C.'s population, would there be any reason to point this out in media reports? Why not tell routinely tell the audience how many Jews, Catholics, Protestants and Muslims are on the jury? Senior citizens? Disabled? Persons of Irish, Scandinavian, and Italian descent? Some, and perhaps all, of these categories are correlated with various social and political attitudes, but we operate under the assumption that members of these groups are acting as American citizens when they serve as juries, not as members of their particular demographic. Why not have the same assumption for race, at least in cases not involving a racial controversy?