This country is on the brink of disaster and there are literally millions in Chicago who can potentially cover his empty slot in the jury box ["President Obama Should Not Skip Out on Jury Duty," usnews.com]. Not to mention the implications of having the president of the United States, whom everyone knows was a lawyer, on a jury. He could casually mention to the other jurors something to the effect of "he most likely did it" and it would cause an immediate bias. So now we have hypothetically compromised the court system, wasted the president's time needlessly, and caused an unfair trial while putting an unfair spotlight on someone's trial! If he had accepted, he would be criticized for wasting time as "no modern court has had a sitting president on a jury," and now he is being criticized for missing jury duty because of the State of the Union address! That's not a small excuse or "just saying no"; that's a valid reason to decline. If you don't respect the president it's one thing, but understand that his position is more important than yours or anyone else's in this country.
Comment by Vincent of NY
The president missed a great opportunity to show the American people the importance of civic duty and due process. While I totally understand why the president of the United States should not sit on a jury, there is a very good process for seeking relief from jury duty for cause, and he really should have sought the right process and not displayed another glaring example of abuse of power. The president did not help things and continued to show poor judgment when less than two days later he had time to take part in a promotional photo shoot with the Los Angeles Lakers. I support our president, even though I did not vote for him, because we need to support and pray for our leaders throughout these trying times. What I am frustrated with more than anything is the lack of good judgment the White House continues to show in a time when our nation needs extreme focus. The president needs to surround himself with better personnel so that bad decisions can be avoided rather than published and promoted by the people who want to derail him.
Comment by Randy of MI
I can just see this being skewed both ways: For example, if he goes, Republicans will say he's out gallivanting while he should be handling big issues; if he doesn't go, Republicans will say he's not patriotic enough or something. Obama shouldn't go back [to Chicago] for jury duty. End of story.
Comment by Alex of MD
The thought of you suggesting that the president of the United States sit on a jury trial is absurd. The amount of media coverage would not let the accused have a fair trial nor would it harness the environment of impartial and unbiased thinking. The courtroom would be a circus for every lawyer and judge to promote themselves.
Comment by Eric of MO
Seriously, he's the president! He has a lot of work to do and needs to be ready to respond to crises at a moment's notice. He can't be ready if he's sitting in court on a jury. Besides, as president, any decision he makes would have political implications. He'd have to think about the press he would receive from the verdict. What if everybody honestly disagrees with his opinion and the president decides he'd get bad press by holding up the verdict? He might have reasonable doubt other jurors didn't catch but then decide to play it safe and agree with everybody to avoid the bad press for "sticking up for a criminal."
Comment by Anon Amos of OK