In the United States, while it is extremely rare, it is possible to be summoned for Federal and State jury duty on the same day as depicted in this picture taken from a Reddit post: enter image description here

When this happens, which jury duty must the summoned attend?


1 Answer 1


I don't know that there's any law explicitly answering this, but it seems that the answer would have to be that the state court summons must yield to the federal court summons.

Under the Supremacy Clause, any state law that makes it impossible to comply with a federal law is preempted and cannot be enforced in those circumstances. Penn. R. Co. v. Ills. Brick Co., 297 U.S. 447, 459 (1936) (“To the extent, if at all, that there is conflict between state and federal regulation, the latter must prevail.”).

Because enforcing the state summons would make it impossible to comply with the federal summons, the Supremacy Clause would prohibit the state from enforcing it, though it could probably still require the recipient to notify the state court of the conduct and make himself available at a future date.

  • But if you go request a deferral from the federal court, they'll grant it, and if you don't and go to state court and are subsequently ordered to show cause for failure to comply with the summons there's no way you're going to be fined, imprisoned, or sentenced to community service. At worst you'll be given a new jury summons.
    – phoog
    Nov 7, 2023 at 23:37
  • Is that just a crazy guess about what would happen, or do you actually have some support for it?
    – bdb484
    Nov 8, 2023 at 7:20
  • The first assertion is based on my experience with jury summonses. Court clerks are invariably lenient about accepting reasonable excuses. I was deferred three times in a row in the Eastern District of New York for much less compelling reasons than having a state jury summons for the same day. The second assertion is based on the law I linked to. The approach of federal courts, at least of the EDNY, is to give summoned jurors the benefit of the doubt. The idea that a judge wouldn't accept another summons for the same day as "good cause" is farfetched indeed.
    – phoog
    Nov 13, 2023 at 19:13
  • It seems awfully risky to assume that every judge in the country is as lenient as the one you've dealt with. I've certainly seen judges who will send the marshals out for missing jurors, and I've likewise seen them send jurors to jail for skipping out unexcused.
    – bdb484
    Nov 13, 2023 at 19:55
  • In any event, I'm not sure any of this is relevant. OP wants to know what the law requires, which is different from what the law might permit on occasion.
    – bdb484
    Nov 13, 2023 at 19:56

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