Former President Obama, free of a job that forced him to move to Washington for eight years, showed up to a downtown Chicago courthouse for jury duty on Wednesday morning. Then he heard the words most prospective jurors pray for: You're dismissed. The 44th president's motorcade left his home in the Kenwood neighborhood on the city's South Side and arrived at the Richard J. Daley Center shortly after 10am, the AP reports. Obama—wearing a dark sport coat, dress shirt, but without a tie—waved to people who gathered outside. Shortly before noon, Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans told reporters that the former president had not been selected for jury duty. But Obama was ready to serve if told to do so, Evans said.
When Obama arrived there was a frenzy as crowds of people inside the courthouse took photos and videos of the former president. As happens most days, would-be jurors brought books, but on Wednesday some people brought books Obama had authored in hopes he might sign them. He obliged and posed for photographs, Evans said. For his troubles, Obama is in line to receive $17.20—the daily rate of pay for performing this civic duty. Hill said that the former president would donate it to Cook County. Obama is the highest-ranking former public official to be called to jury duty in Chicago. But he is not the first former president to be called to jury duty. In 2015, former President George W. Bush answered the jury duty call in Dallas. He was not selected to sit on a jury. And in 2003, former President Clinton reported for jury duty in federal court in New York City. He also was not selected.