If you spend eight years as commander-in-chief of the United States but don't get picked for a jury, is it a relief or an affront?
President George W. Bush didn’t say, but he stayed at the Dallas civil district court for three hours on Wednesday and smiled for photos with fellow potential jurors, CNN reported.
"President Bush received his jury summons and reported for service this morning at the George Allen Courts Building in Dallas," Bush spokesman Freddy Ford told CNN in a statement. "He sat through the jury selection panel for a case in Judge Eric Moye's court on the 14th civil district but – surprise! – was not picked to serve as a juror. He was there for about three hours and posed for photos with other jury candidates, judges, and court staff.”
But before the jury selection panel turned into a photo op, Mr. Bush, whose younger brother Jeb is aiming to become the third Bush in the White House, nearly passed under the radar. Potential juror Joel Ehambe told the Dallas Morning News he almost didn’t recognize the man sitting behind him.
"I turned around and he was seated right behind me and I said, ‘I think I know that guy,’" he said.
"Then the judge introduced him and said it was an honor to have the former president of the United States in the court."
Even Judge Eric Moye did not know Bush had been assigned to his courthouse until that morning: He told the Dallas Morning News having the former president there was “quite an experience.”
It may seem like an ex-commander-in-chief would look out of place among a panel of jurors, but some might argue that if anyone could blend in, it would be Bush: Despite low approval ratings at the end of his time in office, many Americans view him as a more accessible personality than his political peers. In both the 2000 and 2004 elections, he was generally regarded as the more likable candidate.
News photographer Mike Kinney tweeted from the courthouse, “If the former President can show up for jury duty what excuse do you have?”
Apparently, being the former highest ranking government official doesn’t cut it. According to CNN, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts was called to serve jury duty in Maryland last April, and Vice President Joe Biden was summoned in Delaware in 2011. Both reported to their respective courthouses, but neither was chosen to serve.
In Bush’s case, getting passed over wasn’t personal, Judge Moye told the Dallas Morning News. “He was number 27 of a 35-member panel and we only got through number 23,” he said.
However, Moyce also said he appreciated Bush’s attitude during the selection. “It would be great if everyone took their jury service the same way [Bush] did,” he said. “He understood it was important, he took it in good nature and he was engaged and talked to the lawyers.”