Best Of The Web
“I’ve been called for jury duty three or four times, but was never selected until last month, when I was put on the jury for a civil case in Superior Court in Bridgeport, Connecticut. It was a long day. You’re expected to show up at 8:30 in the morning and often don’t leave until 5. Entering the court building, you go through metal detectors operated by court marshals. Much to my surprise, no containers of water or other liquid are allowed to come into the building. Vending machines are available inside. In Bridgeport, you take the elevator to the building’s top floor and take a seat in a large, stuffy room, along with approximately two hundred other prospective jurors. The air-conditioning is minimal. Registration, which begins at nine, takes about forty-five minutes, most of that time spent standing in line. There is nothing high-tech about the process. Paperwork and a driver’s license do the trick. Once registered, you take a small sticker that identifies you as a juror, and that must be worn at all times. If you go out of the building for lunch, you have to show the sticker to get back in. Once everyone is accounted for, a video about jury duty, narrated by judges and former jurors, is shown. The video is both informative and intended to assuage the anxieties of those unfamiliar with the judicial process. After the video, a judge appears in his robes to thank everyone for taking the time to perform “this important civic duty.”
I waxed a bit patriotic hearing those words. How often are we as citizens told that we have duties as well as rights? It reminded me of something the novelist John Lanchester wrote about his father in his memoir, Family Romance: A Love Story: “He grew up in a culture in which duty and reticence and honor and privacy and lack of ostentation were regarded as forms of goodness and public-spiritedness. Plenty of people still believe in all these things, but they have vanished from our public culture, or at least from our publicized culture, and no one celebrates them anymore, or even admits that they were once seen, and not so long ago, as virtues.”
In their reticence, lack of ostentation, and willingness to listen to one another, my fellow jurors demonstrated a genuine public-spiritedness.”
JJ Editor's Picks
"Kurds have been staunch allies in America's struggle against ISIS. Without them, America would have paid a far steeper price in blood and treasure to defeat the brutal outfit. That's why President Trump's move to pull U.S. troops out of..."
"For the first time since President Richard Nixon refused to turn over the White House tapes, the United States is facing a genuine constitutional crisis. To be sure, Donald Trump had already created a crisis in the presidency by abusing the..."
"Every October for the past five years, Fat Bear Week has showcased some of the healthiest, hungriest, and chonkiest bears in Katmai National Park and Preserve, a four-million-acre expanse of wilderness in southern Alaska..."
"I sat on my childhood bed, surrounded by 52-year-old stuffed animals, with a smartphone lodged between my ear and shoulder. My father had died unexpectedly the day before, and I was jotting down notes as my rabbi back in Ohio described various..."
"In August, it was SoulCycle and Equinox. The month prior, Home Depot. Back in 2017, L.L.Bean. These are only a few of the companies to ignite the collective ire of progressive consumers over corporate ties to Trump. In the case of the boutique..."
"Movies like Gemini Man are usually ideal airplane viewing. Take a formulaic plot about spies and cloning, then add dialogue so predictable that getting interrupted by pilots’ announcements and turbulence and your seatmate’s need to get up and..."
"It’s still unclear whether Israel’s next election will be in four years or four months. But either way, if the center-right wants a better outcome, it needs to learn the lessons of September’s election. So here are two: First, while center-right..."
"Smart homes, bountiful oceans and casual sexism: the future as envisaged from 1967 ‘Yes, life will be richer, easier, healthier as space-age dreams come true.’ In 1967, the Ford Motor Company (then known as Philco-Ford) released the short film..."