National

Obama Reports for Jury Duty

Former President Barack Obama showed he is committed to his civic duty when he showed up for jury duty on Wednesday.

The former president reported to the Daley Center municipal building in Chicago on Wednesday morning.

The Obamas have been living in Washington, D.C., since leaving the White House and have said they would stay there until their daughter Sasha graduates from high school. But they also own a home on the South Side of Chicago.

Obama arrived around 10 a.m., according to media reports, dressed in a sport jacket and shirt. His Secret Service detail escorted the former president, who took a private elevator upstairs.

And while most people dread jury duty, the environment was energetic and positive on Wednesday.

Obama greeted the crowd with his usual poise and charisma.

“This looks like Chicago right here,” the former president said. “I like that.”

Word had gotten out that the 44th president would be a potential juror, so some people showed up with copies of Obama’s books for him to sign.

“Look at this. Did you know I was coming?” he asked one man who had a copy of his book “Dreams From My Father.”

“Thanks, everybody, for serving on the jury, or at least being willing to,” Obama said as he walked through the building shaking hands with potential jurors.

Obama and his Secret Service allowed photos to be taken but reportedly drew the line at selfies.

“If I start taking selfies then we’re going to get no work done,” he told one person.

Obama was ultimately not selected to serve and was dismissed by the afternoon.

“He greeted our potential jurors on both sides of our panels. We had about 220 people here,” Chief Judge Timothy Evans told reporters. “He took time to say hello to people on both sides.”

Hope Schwab, a Winnetka resident who also reported for jury duty on Wednesday, recounted with excitement her encounter with the former president in a video with the Chicago Tribune. She had heard on the radio that Obama would be coming to possibly serve jury duty.

“I was able to shake his hand. His hand was so soft,” she gushed. “It was a nice, firm handshake, and it was so thrilling.”

“It was so cool,” she added.

Evans told the Chicago Sun Times that Obama was much more enthusiastic about jury duty than other citizens.

“I’ll be honest with you, I don’t know of anybody who receives a summons from me and says ‘Oh, great! I get to serve jury duty,” he said.

“If the former president of the United States takes his time to come, anybody ought to be willing to come,” Evans added.

Obama is not the first former president to be called to serve. Former President George W. Bush showed up for jury duty in Dallas in 2015 but was not selected to serve. In 2003 former President Bill Clinton also appeared to serve in New York but was dismissed as well.

And while Obama is the highest-ranking former public official to be summoned to serve in Chicago, other noteworthy potential jurors have shown up as well — including Oprah Winfrey, who in 2004 served on a Chicago jury that convicted a man of murder.

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