John Oliver Slams Racial Bias in Juror Selection: ‘So Flagrant Even Brett Kavanaugh Has a Problem With It’ (Video)

“Last Week Tonight” host reveals “bulls— reasons” for striking Black jurors, including a “puffy coat” and “hyphenated last name”

John Oliver devoted Sunday’s “Last Week Tonight” to breaking down the multiple reasons behind why people of color are routinely excluded from juries, a negative aspect of our justice system “so flagrant even Brett Kavanaugh has a problem with it.”

“If you want to see the lengths to which prosecutors are willing to go, just look at the multiple murder trials of Curtis Flowers in Mississippi,” Oliver said. “His case made it all the way to the Supreme Court, which decided that his prosecutor had repeatedly and blatantly tried to whitewash the jury. And that opinion was written by maybe the last justice you’d expect.”

Yes, Oliver revealed it was Associate Justice Kavanaugh, who wrote “a White Mississippi prosecutor’s goal was to have an all-white jury decide the fate of an African-American man accused of murder, which is unconstitutional.” The justice said that District Attorney Doug Evans “waged a relentless determined effort to rid the jury of Black individuals,” removing 41 of the 42 prospective Black jurors over the course of Flowers’ six trials.

“41 of 42 jurors! You know you’re doing something wrong when it’s so flagrant even Brett Kavanaugh has a problem with it,” Oliver said. “A man who has done exactly two good things in his life, this decision and making it acceptable to spend your entire job interview screaming and crying.”

Oliver explained that “peremptory challenges,” when a prosecutor can object to a prospective juror without giving a reason, are often used to exclude people of color from juries.

“To this day, prosecutors use a wide variety of bullsh– reasons to strike Black jurors, some of which are just flat-out ridiculous,” the HBO late-night host said. “Like saying jurors were too young, too old, single, divorced, religious or not religious, lived in a poor part of town, had a hyphenated last name, displayed bad posture or were sullen, disrespectful or talkative.”

One woman “was excluded for wearing a puffy coat.”

“And a jacket should never be an acceptable reason to exclude someone from a jury, unless it’s the one that Post Malone wore to the American Music Awards,” Oliver said. “He looks like he’s supposed to jump out of a cake at a mariachi-themed gender reveal party.”

Watch the full clip via the video above.