I got the verdict wrong — but I think I got the jury right. As I’ve said, they were an earnest bunch, wearing matching heart-printed shirts on Valentine’s Day and, during deliberations, seeking a dictionary to help guide them through a thicket of jargon. They were so attentive and careful, I assumed that they’d take the idea of “reasonable doubt” seriously enough to set the bar for certainty high. As it stands, they took the law so seriously they decided it was important to obey it.
Inevitably, some will argue — and maybe they already have — that the jury simply reflected our collective anger at the administration; they took out a nation’s frustrations on a man caught in a much larger web of secrets and shaded truths (the defense clearly worried they would, pleading, “Don’t sacrifice Scooter Libby for how you may feel about war in Iraq or Bush Administration”). But I take the one juror who’s gone on record at his word: They were sympathetic toward Libby, they just also thought he lied. As cathartic as it would be to have a single administrative scalp to make up for the 3000+ soldiers that have died in Iraq, I have more faith in the jury’s seriousness than that. Their desire for precision — and their clear good will — is what makes me doubt their malice. For them, the decision wasn’t about getting even, it was about getting to the truth.
UPDATE: Commenter “ama” (nice name!) points us all to the HuffPo’s juror diary, which I hadn’t seen (I’ve been traveling for a story). Fascinating stuff. Thanks!