Two potential jurors who expressed negative views of the Bush Administration were dismissed from the jury list on the first day of jury selection. This trial is being held in Washington, D.C., where Democrats make up over 90% of the registered voters. My question is, if that is enough to disqualify potential jurors, how on Earth are the Prosecutors and Defense team ever going to find enough people to make up a jury?
In order to find twelve people who don’t view the Administration in a negative light, it may be necessary to empanel members of the “fair and balanced” Fox News crew based in Washington and a few members of the Administration. Somehow, I don’t think Special Prosecutor Peter Fitzgerald would go for that. U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton ruled that defense lawyers have a right to know if “somebody has a very negative attitude to the Bush administration.” Why, so, they can be put on the wiretap list or accused of being a “terrist” as Bush says?
I can understand how having extremely negative views on something could prejudice someone to the point where they couldn’t render a fair and impartial verdict. If it is the defense’s goal to only seat jurors with favorable or neutral opinions of George W. Bush, good luck! That’s anywhere in the nation right now, let alone Washington D.C. One of the potential jurors said “if I had to rank people as to credibility, I wouldn’t put him (Dick Cheney) at the top of the list.” Really. Just because Cheney shot a man in the face and stonewalled about it for days before facing questions or made statements about Iraq being in the last throes of insurgency years ago is no reason to impugn his veracity. Just because Cheney said in the Vice Presidential debate he had never met John Edwards only to have pictures of the two of them shaking hands on the Senate floor taken not that long before is no reason to doubt his integrity, is it?
At this rate, jury selection could drag on until the end of the Bush administration, or at least the trial could go on long enough that W. could steal a page from his Dad, who pardoned Caspar Weinberger for his role in the arms for hostages scandal right before leaving office. Bill Clinton is not the only President who ever issued pardons before leaving Washington.
At any rate, this could prove to be a very interesting trial. It might not capture the nation’s attention like the really big stories like the Runaway Bride, American Idol, Britney Spears’ panties or lack thereof, or the next and 37th (or so it seems) edition of Survivor, but hopefully the public will pay some attention.
I guess the really interesting question is how a guy nicknamed “Scooter” will fare if he is sent to prison, even a Camp Cupcake minimum security facility without walls. If the defense has their way, we’ll never know.