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Celebrities now obligated to fulfill jury duty, reduced to plebeian status

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regis on juror appreciation day

Tina Fey, it's time to dust off that Princess Leia outfit. Due to budgetary cutbacks, celebrities are no longer exempt from New York jury duty.

Celebrities have been evading everyone's least favorite obligation for about fifteen years, thanks to Juror Appreciation Day. Back in the '90s, New York courts decided to incorporate a celebrity component into their exciting new holiday. People like Matthew Broderick, Uma Thurman, Julianna Margulies, and Tom Brokaw would gather in the Manhattan Supreme Court and speak to high-school kids about the importance of jury duty. In return, they didn't have to fulfill it themselves for two years. Because it's one thing to extol the virtues of public service, and quite another to listen to a totally lame case of petty theft.

But according to New York court spokesperson Arlene Hackel, cutbacks and downsizing forced the retirement of some of the event's coordinators, so the 2011 event has been canceled. Meaning that Conan O'Brien may have to take his own advice to the high schoolers and "bring a book" for "Russian literature time."

Some may see this as celebrities rightfully getting taken down a peg. Others may see it as a distraction to due process. Me? I see it as one step closer to my longstanding dream of a real-life 12 Angry Men starring Gary Busey.