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Sundries
...a sweatshop of moxie

Friday, December 02, 2005

Only in America

Would the sitting President of a country be called for Jury Duty.

When George Walker Bush, ranch owner in McClennan County, near Waco, Texas, had his name randomly culled from the 27,600 possible jury candidates, he had to ask to be excused from fulfilling his civic duty...this time.

"The president has other commitments," said the White House spokesman, Scott McClellan.

No problem, said Judge Ralph T. Strother of State District Court, though President Bush's name had popped up on a random list of Texans summoned for jury service. Judge Strother said he had now given Mr. Bush, who owns a 1,600-acre ranch outside Crawford, a choice of six other dates from January to June 2006.

Are you kidding me? Come on!

This would never occur to the French President, let alone to the Brazilian, to the Mexican, to the German Chancellor, although it might to Hugo Chavez.

Of course, it has long been rumoured that jury duty is rigged, somehow. How, I have no idea, but my dad has a theory -- if you vote, you're in the pool.

He doesn't, my mother does.

So guess who has been called countless times for jury duty? Yep. She always goes too, if only for the $5 lunch stipend they give you.

As for me, I'm still too newly-minted an American citizen to be considered, I suppose, although I'd go in a trice. Also, I'm in the books as a pollworker, so I presume they struck my name as having already "volunteered" civic-wise. Maybe.

Of course, there are other US jury pool theories.

The one I hear most often is that you don't get called or are excused like THAT if you have an upper-level educational degree.

Apparently, the highbrows are harder to convince of someone's innocence. They are also more likely to have a vested interest in the "system", and oh yeah, they're actually intelligent. Allegedly.

I cannot tell you how condenscending I find that towards Mr. Joe Six-Pack and Mrs. Susie Mallrat America.

So they have a high school degree only -- this makes them noodzhes? Please.

I admit to you that what I make up in booklearning, I lack in street smarts, and that's something one can't teach.

I won't condenscend myself and presume that Ph.D.s could all possibly lack street smarts, or common sense, but you know:

I'd trust a shopgirl over an attorney any day. Evens on an used car salesman, though.

But getting back to President Arbusto -- it seems his daughter Barbara was also recently called up for jury duty, and likewise had to make her excuses.

What would happen though, if neither one showed up next time? Would the judge actually lock them up for being in contempt of Court, as he technically would you or I?

The judge said no, but if this issue became politicised (as it would, you betcha, especially after the original Tom DeLay judge was removed for having contributed to Moveon.ugh), it would be pointed out that it's because he was a Bush-appointed jurist, and is a Republican himself.

The questions are rife, just considering this entire situation.

- Would the President be made Jury Foreman?

- Would the President be given a murder case, which might require him to be sequestered at the Rancho Ocho Motel? (Free HBO!)

- Would the President be played by Lee J. Cobb or Henry Fonda? Or Pauly Shore?

- How would the President vote in a case, involving say, oh I dunno, stains on a blue Gap dress or two murders by a guy who tried to flee in a white Bronco?

- Would he be the lone holdout, leading to a hung jury, because as MoDo tells us daily, he refuses to admit he's wrong?

- And could this jury duty be moved to say, oh I dunno, a Courthouse in Baghdad?

Guilty, as charged, yer'oner.

As flippant as I am in this blogpost, I admit -- I am intrigued.

For as much as my traditionalist sensibilities are slightly ruffled at this lesé-majesté to the person of the US President (any US President), it's the kind of situation which makes this country so unique.

No one is above the law, on paper.

Maybe it doesn't always turn out like that, but they certainly do their best to keep you honest, don't they?

13 Comments:

  • I wonder how many people think your blog is called sun-dries...or as an expat living in Fla, is that double entendre entendu?

    I enjoyed skimming your blog...Your choice of template shows considerable class.I'll bookmark it. [high praise] Time for bed.
    verge

    By Blogger vergelimbo, at Fri Dec 02, 03:32:00 am GMT-5  

  • From my small experience it isn't just higher ed. Anyone with a strong personality, degree or no, will quickly be nixed.

    By Blogger JSU, at Fri Dec 02, 06:32:00 am GMT-5  

  • In our county, it works like this: you vote, you get put on the jury pool. People, like me, who vote frequently get called frequently. And, as an attorney with right-leaning sensibilities, I get dismissed ALWAYS.

    Oh, and that stink is on my husband, too. He once spent 3 days as part of a voir dire panel in Fayetteville for a capital murder trial. He wanted to be on the jury soooo bad. When they found out his wife had been a JAG, they dismissed him. He was angry, mostly for the three days he lost.

    By Blogger Ruth Anne Adams, at Fri Dec 02, 08:00:00 am GMT-5  

  • The Prez would probably love a week stint at Rancho Ocho (Whatzat mean?), sequestered, especially if say, a dirty bomb goes off in Chicago and he can't be reached. Time for VP Cheney to shine. Or as MoDo would say, again.
    Judge Strother is showing that being a judge doesn't always mean you're smart.
    And what's this? Is Mr. Joe Six-Pack and this newcomer Mrs. Suzie Mallrat, living together or did she just reject his last name as too commonplace?
    I'd love to be on the same jury as you.

    By Blogger Paul, at Fri Dec 02, 09:40:00 am GMT-5  

  • This, right after John Kerry's service(jury foreman, no less)? I smell a rat!

    By Anonymous Darrell, at Fri Dec 02, 05:08:00 pm GMT-5  

  • I wonder how many people think your blog is called sun-dries...or as an expat living in Fla, is that double entendre entendu?

    Ahh the doubles entrendres are rife here!

    I enjoyed skimming your blog...Your choice of template shows considerable class.I'll bookmark it. [high praise] Time for bed.
    verge


    I am suitably chastened, and yet, honoured.

    Come anytime, Verge. :)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Dec 02, 05:28:00 pm GMT-5  

  • From my small experience it isn't just higher ed. Anyone with a strong personality, degree or no, will quickly be nixed.

    I have this friend who is a Ph.D. in history.

    She always gets called too, but she makes sure she wears black leather from tip-to-Prada-toe, and when asked says she's a Socialist (she is, but a champagne socialist with a red 'Vette).

    They excuse her every time.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Dec 02, 05:30:00 pm GMT-5  

  • In our county, it works like this: you vote, you get put on the jury pool.

    From the horse's mouth, ladies and germs!

    A very pretty horse, though.

    People, like me, who vote frequently get called frequently. And, as an attorney with right-leaning sensibilities, I get dismissed ALWAYS.

    Interesting -- maybe they want people who don't represent extremes?

    You know -- vote independent one time, Repub the next, etc. (I presume in the form they give you, they ask you those questions).

    Oh, and that stink is on my husband, too.

    Sheesh. Guilt by association.

    He once spent 3 days as part of a voir dire panel in Fayetteville for a capital murder trial.

    What is a voir dire panel?

    JSU might also know this one, so either jump in.

    He wanted to be on the jury soooo bad. When they found out his wife had been a JAG, they dismissed him. He was angry, mostly for the three days he lost.

    I would've chucked it down to blogfodder and been happy. ;)

    Great commentary, and insight, Ruth Anne!

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Dec 02, 05:34:00 pm GMT-5  

  • The Prez would probably love a week stint at Rancho Ocho (Whatzat mean?),

    Just me riffin' on the motel names around. :)


    And what's this? Is Mr. Joe Six-Pack and this newcomer Mrs. Suzie Mallrat, living together or did she just reject his last name as too commonplace?


    Well Mrs. Suzie Mallrat and Mr. Joe Six-Pack don't have to be married!

    They could be work colleagues, or cousins.

    Take your mind out of the gutter, Paul! And look up into the stars. ;)

    I'd love to be on the same jury as you.

    Yeah, but I snore.

    No rose without a thorn. :)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Dec 02, 05:37:00 pm GMT-5  

  • This, right after John Kerry's service(jury foreman, no less)? I smell a rat!

    Really?? This would be a juicy followup, Darrell.

    You got links for Mama Vic?

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Dec 02, 05:37:00 pm GMT-5  

  • I'll never understand how IPs work.

    They have me listed as logging in from Tallahasse, Florida.

    I'd laugh, if I weren't surrounded by dirty filthy Noles. Help!

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Dec 02, 05:38:00 pm GMT-5  

  • When I see the phrase, 'Only in America' two thoughts, first Don King's hair (and a huge President Bush supporter), second thought, West Side Story.

    Something I noticed, the Movie lyrics have a line where the girls sing "life is all right in America" followed by the boys singing "if you're all white in America".

    I didn't realize Bu$hHitler was already President when that film was made. Stephen Sondheim was ahead of his time.

    (and the stage lyrics don't include any language to suggest that AmeriKKKa is a racist nation)

    I guess Hollywood was ever thus, and the real America can be evidenced by simple facts like the President being called for jury duty.

    Great post, and I still like the song (catchy Leonard Bernstein tune, just completely forgot the LLL lyrics from the film version).

    By Blogger XWL, at Fri Dec 02, 11:20:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Heck, Victoria, the French pres doesn't even have to STAND trial since until he leaves office he can't be charged with what has been alleged for a donkey's age.

    I've always voted; my husband has. I've never been called for jury duty (although for a long time I would have liked to); my husband has been a number of times. This has been true in both of the states in which we have lived together.

    I used to think it was because for so many years my occupation was listed as journalist, but I was more paranoid back then.

    Just another of those mysteries ...

    By Blogger reader_iam, at Sat Dec 03, 04:38:00 pm GMT-5  

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