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Has a POTUS ever been called for jury duty?

It's everyone's civic duty after all, right?

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2 Answers 2

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Yep, presidents have been called for jury duty before. Of course they never serve on a jury. 'Running a country' and all is a good excuse.

Perhaps slightly more comically is that even SCOTUS gets called for jury duty, but they also have a good excuse.

Trump though shouldn't be at risk of jury duty during his presidency because he just recently served.

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    Showing up for jury duty and getting formally excused by the parties or a judge, however, has a lot of symbolic force. I've frequently encountered jurors in jury pools who say they showed up because a governor or SCOTUS judge did too, so they feel its only fair for them to show up.
    – ohwilleke
    Mar 2, 2017 at 17:54
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    @ohwilleke How about "I showed up for jury duty because i didn't want to get arrested for not showing up to jury duty"? Mar 2, 2017 at 17:56
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    In addition to the people having a good excuse, I doubt a judge would want the President on a jury since it would turn an otherwise menial case into a media circus and the security implications would be a huge headache. Mar 2, 2017 at 19:54
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    What's the expression? "I'm just here so I don't get fined."
    – BradC
    Mar 2, 2017 at 21:01
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    @Mast In theory it could happen. In practice, no lawyer would ever want him, no judge would ever allow him, no president would ever want to, and the public would go crazy. Mar 2, 2017 at 21:20
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Technically speaking, I don't think a President can serve on a jury while in office. This probably never had to be decided by a court because a President would always be excused.

But the fact that they would even get called should be considered a clerical error. Separation of powers would preclude them from making any judicial decisions (and a jury's job is to decide on facts of a judicial case).

Jury members get paid. Which makes them court employees during the time of their service. But, also importantly, this may have severe implications for judicial independence.

A better question might be whether any Congress member had to serve on a jury and I think that would also be impossible due to separation of powers.

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    You are incorrect. Separation of powers does not preclude you from civic duties. As a member of a jury you are not an official of the judicial branch. This is why mayors of small towns can and do serve on Jurys. Feb 19, 2018 at 6:19
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    The separation of powers argument is in any event irrelevant for the President of the United States in state courts, since the president is not an officer of any branch of state government.
    – phoog
    Feb 19, 2018 at 15:57
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    @Grovkin yet Obama was called in 2010 by Illinois. He did not claim non-residence. On the contrary, he appears to have retained his status as an Illinois resident, at least for some purposes, while serving in Washington. Also note how presidents and members of congress routinely vote in their "home states" while in office.
    – phoog
    Feb 19, 2018 at 22:44
  • @grovkin that you don't know any legal justification for their doing so can be attributed to your not knowing voter eligibility law. See, for example, slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2012/11/…: "Fortunately for the president, the Illinois voter-eligibility statute contains an exception for residents who are absent from the state “on business of the United States.”" If such provisions didn't exist, nobody would be able to serve more than one term in congress.
    – phoog
    Feb 19, 2018 at 23:34
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat.
    – phoog
    Feb 19, 2018 at 23:47

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