Court TV anchor responds to John Oliver’s segment about discrimination, race influencing jury selection

John Oliver discussing jury selection on his "Last Week Tonight" HBO show August 16, 2020.
John Oliver discussing jury selection on his "Last Week Tonight" HBO show August 16, 2020.

Credit: HBO

Credit: HBO

John Oliver on his HBO show “Last Week Tonight” dug into problems with the jury selection process and spent two minutes making fun of an old clip of Vinnie Politan on HLN whipping out a literal “race card.”

In the clip, Atlanta-based Politan discussed peremptory challenges in jury selection and pulled out a card that said “race card.”

Oliver, who has been hosting his weekly satirical news show since 2014 on HBO, then went on a long tirade about whether Politan carries the card around with him at all times. “Did he make it himself? That would be weird,” Oliver said. “It would be weirder if he asked someone else to make it for him.”

Then Oliver pondered what happened to the card afterward. Did Politan leave it on his desk just in case he needed it again? “I know this isn’t the most important thing, but why does it say ‘race card’ on it? It’s already a card. Shouldn’t it just say race? It’s technically a ‘race card’ card. And if so, what the [expletive] does that mean?”

He concluded that “HLN is a deeply weird television network.”

Oliver never identifies Politan, a former attorney who was a big presence on HLN for several years but left the network in 2014.

The high-energy Politan then spent several years as an anchor at Atlanta NBC affiliate 11Alive, but when Court TV was revived, he returned to become a lead anchor last year. He thinks the clip is at least seven or eight years old.

“It’s a comedy show, and the bit was funny,” Politan said in a text Monday, addressing Oliver.

But he felt the entire piece “misrepresented our jury selection process in this country and how justice is administered day in and day out, in courtrooms across America.”

While the justice system has its flaws, Politan said jury selection is “probably one of the best parts of our system.”

He then openly invited Oliver on Court TV to discuss jury selection. You can view Oliver’s clip featuring Politan discussing the “race card,” starting at 12 minutes and 4 seconds.

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