The Politician-Juror All-Star Team

  • Share
  • Read Later
Getty Images (3)

Correction appended: August 12, 2013, 6:55 p.m. E.T.

Judge, jury, meet politician.

Arizona Sen. John McCain fulfilled his civic duty on Monday when he reported for jury duty in Phoenix, as he proudly announced on Twitter.

McCain later reported that he wasn’t chosen to serve on a jury panel, joining a long list of high-profile political figures that avoided having to pass judgment on their constituents, including Vice President Joe Biden and even President Obama himself.

But just for fun, TIME asked lawyers and jury selection experts to help draft an All-Star squad of potential politician-jurors — who they’d want on a panel and for what kinds of cases. Can politicians ever really be good jurors? The answer, most legal experts says, is probably not, since they so clearly lack impartiality on so many issues.

In a pinch though, here’s who they’d pick.

(MORE: John McCain Defends Strippers, Not For The First Time)

John McCain, Prosecutor’s Dream

The former presidential candidate could be a dream juror for a criminal prosecutor because he’s a “law-and order kind of guy,” said Jeffrey Frederick, a jury consultant at the National Legal Research Group.

“These people tend to be pro-prosecution,” Frederick said. “It’s kind of hard to come up with [a criminal case] that he wouldn’t be a decent pro-government juror.”

Tom Coburn, Doctor’s Defender

In a medical malpractice suit, the Republican senator from Oklahoma would surely be soothing medicine for doctors under the knife. A trained physician, Coburn was, himself, once the target of an unsuccessful medical malpractice suit. And people that can put themselves in the shoes of the defendant are ideal jurors for the defense team.

“You’d be hard pressed to get a medical malpractice case by him,” said Thaddeus Hoffmeister, a professor at the University of Dayton’s law school, who also writes a blog about juries.

Of course, that’s exactly why Coburn would never find himself on such a panel.

Bill Clinton, Persuader

The former president could not only be sympathetic to a criminal defendant having faced down investigations himself, but he would also have the valuable ability to sway his fellow jurors, said Susan Constantine, a body language expert and trial consultant.

“If I were to choose any person that has mastered body language, likability, and rapport building, it’s him,” Constantine. “He would be great for the defense.”

Unless, of course, he turned those powers of persuasion in the other direction.

Rand Paul, Government Skeptic

A staunch libertarian, the Kentucky Republican senator has demonstrated more than enough skepticism of the government to make a good juror for a defense team, Hoffmeister said.

Paul has voiced his disagreement with more than a few laws on the books, and someone who doesn’t agree with laws will be more wary of supporting a prosecutor, especially for low-level charges like drug use.

“They’re like, ‘really, you’re bringing these charges?’” Hoffmeister said. “That might bother some libertarians.”

Marco Rubio, Empathy In Deliberation Room

The Florida Republican senator’s ascent from a Cuban working-class family to the halls of power suggests he would empathize with many defendants, Constantine said.

“He’s a true-in-the-heart egalitarian… he would empathize with the struggle, and the hardships that people go through and the mistakes they’ve made along the way,” Constantine said.

A skilled retail politician, his ability to connect with others would also come into play during deliberations.

MORE: Immigration Debate Brings Strange Bedfellows—And New Hope—to Washington

An earlier version of this article misspelled Tom Coburn’s name.

0 comments

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,106 other followers