The VICE Guide to Right Now

Obama Managed to Make Jury Duty Look Like the Shit

For perhaps the first and last time, a roomful of potential jurors were psyched to be stuck in court.
Drew Schwartz
Brooklyn, US
November 8, 2017, 11:00pm
Photo by Joshua Lott /Getty Images

When he's not kite surfing with Richard Branson or hanging out on a yacht with Oprah and Bruce Springsteen, Barack Obama has been spending his post-presidency like a pretty normal dude. Sometimes he goes to plays. Occasionally, he'll eat a boxed sandwich.

On Wednesday, the former leader of the free world was even forced to comply with the grim business of showing up to jury duty. Still, the guy somehow made the world's most dreaded civic duty seem like a total blast.


According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Obama followed every step that all 168 jurors who reported to Chicago's Daley Center on Wednesday had to take. He watched a 20-minute instructional video on the process, donned a red "juror" sticker, and earned $17.20 for his time. The one difference was that a pack of reporters tailed him from the moment he left his house in Chicago's South Side.

The jurors who ran into Obama at Chicago's Daley Center pretty much lost their minds, as did a horde of folks on the internet, jealous they weren't able to have him sign their copy of The Audacity of Hope or whatever. A year to the day after President Trump was elected, people seemed thrilled at having Obama flash back into their everyday lives, even if only for a moment.

"He’s gorgeous!" court clerk Sonal Joshi told the Chicago Tribune, before running back to her desk.

"I am surprised that he's actually coming," another Daley Center worker, Sharon Mindock, told ABC 7. "I thought if anything he should have some political pull to get out."

Unfortunately for whoever made it to the next round on Wednesday, Obama won't be joining them on the panel. According to the Tribune, he was never tapped to serve, and was sent home for the day around noon.

After about two hours at the courthouse, Obama got the hell out of there—but not before thanking the folks who made the wise decision not to ditch work that day for their service, a "core part of the justice system."

Follow Drew Schwartz on Twitter.