Sunday, April 19, 2015

Jury duty is for everybody

Imagine you're a lawyer entering the courtroom to select the 12 men and women who will decide the civil case you've been preparing for nearly a year. Sitting in the gallery's second row, squeezed in among dozens of other ordinary Maryland citizens grudgingly or enthusiastically performing their civic duty, is the chief justice of the United States, John G. Roberts Jr.

Would you want him on the jury?

That was the question confronting a pair of attorneys last week at the Montgomery County Circuit Court in Rockville, Maryland. Roberts was Juror No. 49 in the pool under consideration for a case that stemmed from a car wreck, according to the Washington Post. After answering two questions in open court and then speaking quietly with the judge and lawyers, he was not selected for the jury. ...

Kathy Arberg, a spokeswoman for the Supreme Court, said that while several other justices had reported for jury duty in recent years, the Court did not keep records on whether any of them had served on a trial. Roberts made no apparent attempt to be excused from the trial, the Post reported. The judge asked the potential jurors to speak up if they had relatives in the medical profession, and Roberts said that his sister was a nurse in Indiana. When Judge Ronald Rubin then asked, per the custom, whether that would prevent him from being "fair and impartial," the chief justice replied, "Nope."
--Russell Berman, The Atlantic, on the nation's most qualified juror