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                                       politics + culture

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

the grand jury

A portrait of the grand jury, from the Washington Post:

The grand jury, a group of onetime strangers from across the District, has spent two days a week for nearly 24 months in the cloistered, guarded room on the third floor of the U.S. District Courthouse. They have sifted through the day planners of White House aides and listened intently as the prosecutor grilled West Wing officials and reporters who relied on them as confidential sources. They are paid $40 a day, plus $4 for transportation.

Now they might be called upon to make decisions that could deal a crippling blow to the Bush White House and put top administration officials on trial.

There were 23 members at the start, committed for 18 months. Their term was extended in May for six months. At least six original jurors have been excused because of hardships their service created. Some were replaced with alternates.

Like the jury's forewoman, the majority are African American women who appear to be middle-age or older. The jury includes at least two black men, two older white women and three white men. One trim, agile retiree with white hair often entered the grand jury room with his bicycle helmet in hand.


I know there's other scoops and hints out there. But this passage leapt out at me. This is about the people versus the powerful. This is about how our system of governance puts no one above the law, no one above the judgment of a jury of their peers...

this is about the folks who are standing in, in this process, for you and for me.

3 Comments:

  • Interesting to consider that this is one way where residents of the District of Columbia can have real influence over government. Absent voting for members of the house and senate, of course!

    By Anonymous bassclef, at 1:27 AM  

  • Best. Jury duty. Ever. I salute the grand jurors and thank them for their service.

    Question: I remember reading somewhere (probably an unreliable weblog) that unlike jurors at a trial, grand jurors are not necessarily told to avoid reading news about "their" case while it is in progress--just that they can't discuss the proceedings with anyone or draw conclusions based on "outside" evidence. Is this in any way correct?

    Because if it is... well, I mean, how cool would that be? To get to read the papers and the blogs and the press briefings and the rest of it while knowing full well who's really said what behind those doors? It cannot possibly get any better than that.

    By Blogger &y, at 8:11 AM  

  • Excellent point bassclef. And very curious to hear if any can weigh in on &y's question. . .

    By Blogger awol, at 11:43 AM  

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