Friday, December 02, 2005

Duty?

I guess his showing up depends on whether he can take Karl into the jury room with him.

According to press reports, President George W. Bush has been summoned for jury service, likely in Crawford, Texas. His press secretary, Scott McClellan was asked to confirm the reports at his briefing with reporters today.

Q Has the President been summoned for jury duty in Crawford? And if so, will he serve?

MR. McCLELLAN: No. Good question, and I can update you on that. At this point, we've never received a jury summons from the court. We checked, but when we learned about it, I think through media reports, we did reach out to the court to find out about this jury summons. And apparently, this summons was for Monday, December 5th.

[snip]

Q Would he like to serve in the Cindy Sheehan case down there? (Laughter.)

MR. McCLELLAN: Go ahead, April. That was Ken Herman, Cox News Service, for the record. (Laughter.)

***

Q Is this the first time the President would have received a summons since becoming President?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I don't -- oh, since becoming President.

Q Yes.

MR. McCLELLAN: It's the first I can recall off the top of my head. I'd have to double check that, though.

Q Is he going to get Gonzales to get him off again?

MR. McCLELLAN: Go ahead.
For those of you who don't know, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, when he was counsel to then-Gov. Bush, got Bush out of jury duty after they figured out that serving could require Bush to reveal his 1976 arrest for drunk driving.

One of Gonzales' most controversial actions in that post was helping to get George W. Bush excused from jury duty in 1996, a situation that could have required the governor to disclose his then-secret 1976 conviction for drunken driving in Maine. Gonzales suggested to the judge and defense lawyer that if Bush served, he would not, as governor, be able to pardon the defendant in the future.
This is probably something the White House wishes they could do. With Bush's approval ratings in the toilet, they could use the good PR of showing the president participating in some small, unpleasant capactiy in The System (it's the same as the shot of the candidate emerging from the voting booth on election day, and you know how fond campaigns are of that). There also would be the opportunity to show how tough on crime numbnuts is by convicting some poor bastard of something -- maybe they could even vote to execute! -- and then the other jurors could tell CNN how impressed they were with Bush's "sharp mind" and "immediate grasp" of the details of the case, and gush other compliments usually reserved for children. Especially with John Kerry serving as jury foreman in a civil case in Boston last week, this is probably something they really would like to do.

But given the limited amount of control they'd likely have over the proceedings -- how do you rig an election for jury foreman? -- there's no way they'd let Bush improvise. They've seen him do it too many times, and the results always end up drawing big laughs on The Daily Show and Leno.

But no biggie. Bush has never really been one to answer the call of duty anyway.

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