June 28, 2010 was a remarkable day at the Supreme Court. It was Justice Stevens’s last day on the bench and the end of Frank Wagner’s tenure as Reporter of Decisions. Chief Justice Roberts read aloud a letter he had written to Justice Stevens on behalf of all of his colleagues. Opinions were handed down in McDonald v. Chicago, Free Enterprise Fund v. PCAOB, Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, and Bilski v. Kappos. The Court was in mourning—Justice Ginsburg’s husband Martin had died the day before. Yet she courageously showed up and delivered an oral summary of her CLS opinion. Justice Breyer delivered lengthy synopses of his McDonald and PCAOB dissents, and Justice Stevens read from his Bilski concurrence. The sitting lasted an hour and a half.
I showed up at the First Street sidewalk just before 5 P.M. on June 27. Pretty cool to be first in line for my first SCOTUS campout. Two others joined me around 7. As I recalled a day later, there were eight of us between the hours of 12 and 5 A.M. Plenty more arrived after Metro opened and the sun came up, including Dick Heller and Otis McDonald. They had to stand in line just like everyone else.
Here are some of the pictures I took (scroll over for date and time, and click to enlarge):
first in line: NBC’s Pete Williams: Pete Williams: Dick Heller and Otis McDonald: McDonald: Heller: McDonald and me: Alan Gottlieb: William Suter, Clerk of the Court: Tom Goldstein with a box of celebratory bow ties: Alan Gura and Otis McDonald, after the opinion announcement: McDonald signing copies of the opinion: Some of the McDonald-Gura press conference: