Jury Duty. The responsibility of every registered voter in the country. When you get the call you have to go unless you have extenuating circumstances that prevent you from serving. The reasons for dismissal or excused absence from jury duty are many.
But what if you’re just incredibly famous? Suppose everyone in the country knew your name and your face? Would you still show up for your jury duty and serve with a smile on your face?
Former President Barack Obama would, and intends to do just that.
Chief Judge Tim Evans has been in contact with an Obama spokesperson and verifies that the former president, who owns homes in Washington, D.C. and Cook County, Illinois, intends to fulfill his civic duty:
He made it crystal-clear to me through his representative that he would carry out his public duty as a citizen and resident of this community.
Evans stated that some arrangements would need to be made in order to “accommodate Obama’s security detail,” and that the exact date and courthouse is not set yet, but he added:
Obviously we will make certain that he has all the accouterments that accompany a former president. His safety will be uppermost in our minds.
Obama won’t be the first former president to serve jury duty.
Bill Clinton was called for jury duty in New York in 2003, in a case involving a gang shooting, but was dismissed by the judge, who was concerned that his accompanying secret service attachment could “undermine our efforts to keep the case focused quietly on the evidence.”
George W. Bush was selected in August 2015 and showed up like any other regular person. Bush was not selected either, but not for the same reason according to Judge Eric Moye, who stated, “He was number 27 of a 35 member panel and we only got through number 23.”
Time will tell if Obama actually is able to serve his jury duty, but he fully intends to set a good example by showing up. Based on his celebrity, the required secret service detail, and the possibility for disruption to any proceedings, we’re guessing the judge will preemptively remove him from the pool, but the gesture is appreciated.