WACO, Texas – He's called the commander in chief and leader of the free world, but George W. Bush may have a new title: juror No. 286.
The president is among 600 potential jurors who have been summoned to report to court Monday in McLennan County, where he has a 1,600-acre ranch.
State District Judge Ralph Strother said he expects to get a response about the summons but doesn't expect Bush to show up in his court.
"I don't think I'll be sending the sheriff out to bring the president in," said Strother, a Republican who has a grandson serving in Iraq. "It seems to me that the president has plenty of things to occupy his attention. Jury duty is a very important civic function, but running the country, I think, especially in wartime, takes priority over jury service."
White House spokesman Allen Abney said Bush was not aware of the situation and had not received the summons. He declined to elaborate on how the president would handle the jury notice when it arrived at the White House.
McLennan County District Clerk Karen Matkin said her office mailed a jury summons in mid-November to Bush at his ranch in Crawford, about 20 miles west of Waco. Several times a year Bush visits the ranch he bought in 1999, and he voted in Crawford in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections.
Strother said one of Bush's twin daughters, Barbara, received a jury summons for his court a month ago. Someone called to reschedule her jury service, saying she would be out of the country for the next six months, the judge said.
When Bush was Texas governor in 1996, he was called for jury duty in a drunken-driving case. But he was excused after the defense attorney said Bush's power to pardon convicts could pose a conflict.
But part of Bush's jury questionnaire had been left blank, including a question about previous arrests. It later was revealed that Bush had been arrested for drunken driving in Maine in 1976.