President Obama got out of a jury duty summons in Chicago this week because of tomorrow’s State of the Union address, but he should serve later, contends former Justice Department spokeswoman Mary Kate Cary in U.S. News and World Report. “The president had an opportunity to signal that jury duty is important and a duty of citizenship, rather than just simply saying he would not be able to serve,” Cary says.
Apparently, no modern court has had a sitting president on a jury. Ronald Reagan was summoned in the 1980s by Santa Barbara County, Ca. He was granted a deferment until he was out of office. Former President Bill Clinton was willing to serve on a gang-shooting case in 2003, but the judge dismissed him. As for Cary, she served on a jury while working the Justice Department and “learned a heck of a lot about our criminal justice system.”