Update: Well, apparently my lack of knowledge about the practice of law was particularly evident in the post below, as several readers let me know. From this source
Since 1978, attorneys in California criminal trials have been forbidden to exercise peremptory challenges based on a lawyer’s belief that certain individuals are biased because they are a member of a specific racial, ethnic or religious group. (People v. Wheeler (1978) 22 Cal.3d 258, 276, citing, Ca. Const., art. 1, § 16 [right to representative trial by jury drawn from cross-section of community], overruled in part by Johnson v. California (2005) 545 U.S. 162, 168-173 [125 S.Ct. 2410, 162 L.Ed.2d 129].) In 1986, the U. S. Supreme Court followed California’s lead and held that jury challenges based on group bias violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. (Batson v. Kentucky (1986) 476 U.S. 79, 89 [106 S.Ct. 1712, 90 L.Ed.2d 69].) This has commonly become known as the "Wheeler/Batson" rule.
I don't want to be that guy whose point is disproved but who sticks by it anyway, but I stick by my point. It's not clear by the timing that Kaine's actions were even illegal at the time, and the narrative below shows Kaine as responding to behavior of the opposing attorney. If he did not at the time have access to Wheeler/Batson challenges, then his actions seem a reasonable response. Again, it would be interesting to hear from attorneys actually involved in trials, but are there many attorneys who don't think the racial makeup of a jury makes a difference, even if they have to be more subtle in managing it?
The Washington Examiner seems to think they have somehow caught Tim Kaine red-handed:
As an attorney in the 1980s, Tim Kaine once had three white jurors struck from hearing a case in which his client, an African-American, alleged she was discriminated against by the defendant, who was white, the Daily Beast reported Monday.
Kaine explained later that the move was aimed at securing more black people on the jury, thus increasing his client's odds of winning her housing discrimination suit.
The white defendant's attorney employed peremptory strikes on the day of the trial to have three black people removed from the pool of potential jurors, the Daily Beast report explained. Kaine responded in kind: He used peremptory strikes of his own to have three white jurors removed, and succeeded in getting one African-American onto the jury.
Kaine explained later in an article for the University of Richmond Law Review in 1989 that he believed having more black people on the jury would swing things in his client's favor, implicitly admitting the tactic was race-based.
I am not an attorney, but doesn't this happen pretty much every single day in every single court? This strikes me as about as surprising as a baseball manager substituting in a left-handed hitter to face a right-handed pitcher. I would think that given any sort of reasonable legal ethics, if Mr. Kaine thought this action would help his client, then he was virtually obligated to do it.
If one wants to lament that black and white jurors come to different sorts of verdicts for black plaintiffs and defendants, then I suppose one could rant about that but it's hardly Tim Kaine's fault. He has to deal with reality as it is. If you really wanted a racial gotcha story, imagine the facts reversed to something like "white defense lawyer refused to strike other whites from jury despite the fact it might have helped his black client."
Postscript: And yes, I know the Lefty SJW's would have gone apesh*t if a Republican candidate as an attorney had struck black jurors from a trial to help his white client, but that does not make the critique any more correct.