The former president had to report to jury duty like everybody else
President Barack Obama tackled many seemingly impossible tasks during his presidency and now in his retirement, he’s managed to do it again: he made jury duty fun. Well, for a day.
Obama made quite the entrance at the Daley Center in Chicago on Wednesday. He strolled in around 10 AM with his Secret Service crew in tow and helicopters circling above, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Instead of blowing off his civic duty (like many of us do — don’t lie), he was there to do the right thing and be a model citizen. As he walked into the jury assembly room he shook hands and said, “This looks like Chicago right here. I like that.”
A security guard at the courthouse reportedly warned the swaths of photographers, reporters, court staff, and attorneys not to photograph the room. Yeah, good luck. Once Obama came on the scene people kind of lost their shit and swooned. The crowds rushed up to the glass doors to catch a glimpse and take a picture.
“He’s gorgeous!” exclaimed court clerk Sonal Joshi. Not sure whether she’s talking about Obama being a silver fox, or she’s alluding to his glittery-glowing-sparkling-please-come-back-to-us presence. But either way, same.
Obama shook hands with his fellow potential jurors and allowed people to take his picture. We’re hoping they captured the rainbows, flowers, and mythical woodland creatures trailing behind him. The former president also signed copies of his book that some had brought with them.
Potential juror Kelly Bulik said she felt like a “piece of melting butter” as she shook hands with Obama. Another potential juror, Molly Miernicki said, “I actually have to say, it was a great experience,” She added, “Oh yeah, I’m ready (for the next time). Let’s see who else is coming.” Obama literally drummed up enthusiasm for jury duty, because of course he did.
He also thanked the staff for their service in “the core part of the justice system.”
The former president was one of 168 potential jurors gathered for jury duty. He had to watch the juror training video like everybody else then waited for his number to be called. He put his red “juror” sticker on his jacket. Around lunch time he found out he was not picked. He’ll get mailed a $17.20 check from Cook County.
Obama currently resides in Washington with Michelle while Sasha finishes up high school, but the couple still owns a home in the Hyde Park neighborhood on the South side of Chicago. Presumably, Chicago is still their residency. For the next year, he will be excused from jury duty like the rest of the potential jurors before being put back in the random pool.
“I don’t know of anybody who receives a summons from me and says, ‘Oh great, I get to serve jury duty,” Chief Judge Timothy Evans joked. “I hope they can see that … if the former president of the United States takes his time to come, anybody ought to be willing to come.”