Former president Barack Obama answered a jury summons Wednesday, arriving at a Chicago courthouse to perform the civic duty asked of all Americans – but was sent home just two hours later.
The former leader of the free world was the only juror to arrive by six-vehicle motorcade, however, accompanied by tight security and met by a throng of news media.
He left his Chicago home in the Kenwood neighborhood at 9:30am and arrived at the courthouse a half hour layer. His motorcade was made up of four black SUVs, a Chicago police SUV, and an Illinois State Police SUV.
The ex-president Secret Service detail parked under the courthouse, and then ferried Obama up to the 17th floor jury assembly room via an elevator usually reserved just for judges.
When he arrived in the jury room, Obama went around greeted the other citizens waiting to be selected for a trial – shaking hands and signing books.
Eventually, Obama was placed on a jury panel, but when that panel wasn’t needed, so he was allowed to go home. If he decides to remain registered in Chicago, his name won’t be called for at least another year.
Like all prospective jurors, Obama earned $17.20 for his day of service, which is actually pretty good considering he was only there two hours.
Before heading to court, the former president took time to tweet about Tuesday night’s high-profile state and mayoral election results seen as a sweeping repudiation of the politics of his White House successor Donald Trump.
‘This is what happens when the people vote,’ Obama wrote. ‘Every office in a democracy counts!’
Obama is not the first U.S. president to show up for a service that some Americans either dread or find excuses to avoid. Obama’s predecessor in the White House, George W. Bush, responded to a jury summons in 2015.
Bush was not selected to serve as a juror, but images of the smiling former president posing with delighted citizens at the courthouse in Dallas, Texas quickly showed up on social media.
And shortly after announcing his candidacy in 2015, now-President Trump reported for jury duty in Manhattan Supreme Court. Trump also wasn’t selected for a case.
Chicago has some experience with high-profile jurors. In 2004, media titan Oprah Winfrey, who at the time produced her talk show out of the midwestern city, was a juror on a three-day murder trial ending in a conviction.
While the Obamas currently live in Washington, the former president and first lady Michelle Obama maintain a home in Chicago, the city where he got his political start.
Chicago is also where the future Obama presidential center will be built, near the former leader’s home in the southern part of the city.