Yes. Just like you and me. And the Donald.
So here’s the better question: what happens when a judge doesn’t show up when summoned for jury duty and then gets really, really huffy, i.e., he hires a lawyer, when he’s ordered to explain why he didn’t show up?
Some Judges Show Up for Jury Duty. Some Don’t. And Some Lawyer Up.
“Some” is probably the wrong word in that last sentence, because I’d be surprised if this has ever happened before. But it did happen recently in the federal District of Kansas, according to this order by Judge Eric Melgren (thanks, Matt).
Judge Melgren notes that when potential jurors don’t respond to a summons, he issues an order to show cause why they should not get in trouble for that. Typically, this involves a few hours of community service if the person has no good explanation. He followed that practice when some people failed to show up in mid-June. Then this happened:
In response to the Order to Show Cause, Mr. Hoelscher [a state-court judge] contacted the Court’s jury clerk to discuss his actions and his reasons for non-appearance. Such contact is not unusual. What happened next, however, was most unusual; indeed, in this Court’s experience, it is unprecedented. My staff received an irate phone call from an attorney, … indicating that he had been retained by Respondent [Hoelscher] …, informing my staff that respondent was a state court judge (of which fact we were aware) and that as such Respondent was not required to respond to the jury summons. [This] was quickly followed up with an email to the Chief Judge of this court threatening to subpoena numerous officials of this court to demonstrate their “ignorance of the law” and warning that “when I go to court, I go to win.”
Wow. Or, as Judge Melgren put it, “the Court found these developments astonishing.”
Second question: what’s the matter with Kansas? Oh, sorry. Thomas Frank already asked that one.