Chief Justice Of The U.S. Called For Local Jury Duty Selection, Asked If He Could Be Fair And Impartial

When the head of the Supreme Court is called to jury duty, the Chief Justice still has to go through the jury selection process like everyone else. The Honorable John Glover Roberts, Jr. was called to report for jury duty in Montgomery County for a civil trial. The 17th Chief Justice of the United States reportedly sat in the second row of a jury gallery that consisted of around four dozen other potential jurors on Wednesday.

Many on social media thought it was great that the highest judge in the land had to participate in the jury process like everyone else. If chosen, jurors in Montgomery County courtrooms are paid an expense stipend of $15 per day, according to the court’s online FAQs section. With the typical Chief Justice salary exceeding $200,000 per year, jury duty would have been less of a financial hardship on the highest judge in the land than it is on many Americans earning hourly wages who are called to jury selection.

The Supreme Court’s calendar showed that Wednesday was, thankfully, neither an argument day nor a conference day, but the next SCOTUS session is scheduled to begin Monday. The trial that the 17th Chief Justice was called in for jury duty for pertained to a lawsuit that involved an auto crash that occurred in 2013. The head of the Supreme Court sat among other jury prospects before Circuit Judge Ronald Rubin. According to the Washington Post, the Chief Justice might have gone unnoticed if it weren’t for “two serious looking security men in suits posted at the door.”

The Honorable John Roberts, Jr. was Juror 49 in the gallery that day. Judge Rubin asked those called to the jury selection if any of them had ties to the medical field. At that point, Juror 49, the Chief Justice of the United States admitted that one of his sisters is a nurse. Judge Rubin asked the head of the U.S. Supreme Court more information about his sister, then, as required, asked the Chief Justice, “Would that in any way make it difficult or impossible for you to be fair and impartial?”

The head of the nation’s judicial branch responded, “Nope,” according to the Washington Post. He later had to declare that his brother-in-law was a police officer with the State of Indiana, according to the New York Daily News, and again responded that that would not affect his ability to be fair and impartial.

Before the potential jurors were asked about their connections with lawyers, the Chief Justice was called up for a conversation with Judge Rubin who informed him that he intended to save him from having to out himself as the country’s highest Justice in front of all the others that had been called for jury duty selection.

“Obviously we know what you do for a living, sir,” the judge said to the Chief Justice, then telling him that he did not have to participate in the questions about professions involving law.

At the end of the jury selection process, six jurors and two alternatives were chosen, and Juror 49 was not one of them. Judge Rubin chose jurors in numerical order from those who were not stricken from being chosen. The final juror chosen was Juror 14. After the Chief Justice of the United States got called to jury duty selection for a civil lawsuit and was not selected, The Daily Show tweeted a robe joke, and Politico tweeted about his rejection, which, according to the Washington Post, probably had more to do with his juror number than anything else.

[Photo via Montgomery County Circuit Court]