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Wednesday, January 5, 2005

No excuses

We're only four and a half days into 2005, but already I've got a nominee for Person of the Year.

When U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer was called up for jury duty in the local district court near his Massachusetts home, he didn't try to get out of it. Instead, he showed up:

Breyer, 66, said he felt it was important to do his civic duty and report to the courthouse, located about 30 miles west of Boston. He divides his time between Washington and Massachusetts.

"It proves that everyone can participate, and in a democracy that is important," Breyer said.

You are so right, Justice Breyer. And you are way, way cool.

(Via Basie.)

Comments (7)

that dude (er... uh... I mean Justice) went to my high school!!

If he were a New Jersey resident, he would have to show up for jury duty here, as there is no exception in the statute for federal judges. If he failed to show, the court would issue a bench warrant for his arrest, something that would certainly make the papers. :-)

I recall when former Justice Brennan (a Jersey guy) received his bill for the "Client Security Fund" (a fund created by court rule, that requires all attorneys in the state to pony up to a fund used to compensate clients who have been screwed by dishonest lawyers). Justice Brennan called a Third Circuit judge with whom I am familiar to ask, "Do I really have to pay this?"

Of course, the answer was, "Just write the check, Bill."


(Via Basie.)

The Breyer jury duty story can serve as your own personal proof that you don't read the Oregonian anymore...

Yup, it was also in the Big O today.

OK, enough of that hobbyhorse for a while.

My established procedures for reading The Oregonian:

1. Check front page for local news.

2. Read any local stories on front page.

3. Throw entire first section of paper in recycling bin.

4. Read Metro section and Sports.

5. Open New York Times.

A sure sign of our times, is it not, when someone is lauded simply for doing something that is (a) not a real big imposition for someone without a 9-5 job, (b) required by law, and (c) a pretty basic civic duty. I mean, props to the guy for showing up, but if this is all it takes to get an early nod for "person of the year," I think the standard is pretty low.

I believe he does have a 9-5 job, albeit one with a couple of months' vacation. And anyway, there's no doubt in my mind that, in all 50 states, a sitting U.S. Supreme Court justice could get a pass from jury duty with nothing more than a phone call. Indeed, who was the last such justice who ever reported for jury duty? None that I've ever heard of. So it's way cool.

As for "Person of the Year," sometimes it's the litle things that prove who a person is.

I'm assuming he got excused. I don't know if I would want a Supreme Court Judge on MY Jury...


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