Former president Barack Obama's life has been pretty sweet since his term ended at the beginning of 2017. He's been on some dreamlike vacations, saw his oldest daughter Malia go off to college, and celebrated his 25th wedding anniversary with Michelle. It's been a pretty monumental year for him.
But with a return to private life, there come some new responsibilities: In Obama's case, he is being summoned to jury duty in Cook County, IL. Former U.S. presidents, they're just like us!
Cook County Chief Judge Tim Evans told commissioners on Friday that POTUS 44 will serve next month, The Chicago Tribune reported. (The former president owns residences in the neighborhood of Kalorama in Washington, D.C., and Chicago’s Kenwood neighborhood.)
"Although it’s not a place where the public can earn a lot of money, it is highly appreciated," Evans told the Tribune of Obama’s decision to serve. (Cook County jurors get paid $17.20 per day.) "It’s crucial that our society get the benefit of that kind of commitment."
Details of the date and the courthouse where Obama will report are being kept under wraps for security reasons, Evans told the Tribune. He also said there will be adjustments to accommodate Obama's security detail.
"Obviously we will make certain that he has all the accouterments that accompany a former president," he said. "His safety will be uppermost in our minds."
Obama is far from being the only high-profile juror in Cook County. According to the Tribune, Oprah Winfrey and Mr. T have also reported for jury duty in the county. And he's not the only former president to serve, either: In 2015, former president George W. Bush reported for duty in Dallas, TX. (In the end, he was not selected.)
Jury duty is a civic obligation, since jurors play a crucial role in the U.S. justice system. They can be called to serve in civil or criminal cases (the latter has a selection process for jurors participating in the trial) and can be summoned to any city or suburban courthouse in the county.
Since Obama has been such a passionate advocate for civic engagement, it's no surprise he is showing up to serve.
“He made it crystal-clear to me through his representative that he would carry out his public duty as a citizen and resident of this community,” Evans said.