I took yesterday’s 1:25 A.M. Megabus from Durham to D.C. We rolled into Union Station around 6:30, and I grabbed a bite to eat. I took my first SCOTUS picture at 6:54. Very little vociferating to be heard at such an hour.
(scroll over to see the date and time for each of these pics)
I don’t have a precise number, but here’s about where I was in line:
The line at 7:10 A.M.:
Virtually everyone in line had the opportunity to be interviewed. I didn’t seek out reporters, but I talked to all who asked if I’d be willing to. On Monday, I gave interviews for Good Morning America, the Washington Examiner, the National Pro-Life Center, Canadian Radio, La Vanguardia, the Wall Street Journal, CBS, a local NBC affiliate, a freelance journalist, and a blog called Sojourners.
Full-argument tickets for Monday were handed out around 7:40 A.M. At 7:35, a policeman explained that accepting a Monday ticket would mean forfeiting one’s place in line for Tuesday and/or Wednesday:
He then handed out 60 Monday tickets:
These kind folks got here soon after I did and were able to hear the entire argument:
These people passed up a Monday ticket so as to be absolutely sure of getting in on Tuesday (I did the same thing, and it turned out to be an unnecessary precaution, as everyone behind me between 7 and 11:30 A.M. wanted in for Monday). Here, beginning with #61, are the ones who didn’t make the first cut. The SCOTUS policeman eventually returned and distributed 60 more full-day tickets for Monday. That’s 120 general-public tickets! For the entire 90-minute argument!
The view from 8:12 A.M.:
Demonstrations have begun:
Most everyone lined up parallel to First Street (probably 25 consecutive people in all) was paid to hold a spot for someone else. From what I hear, line-standing companies charged $20-40 an hour for this service, but the workers made only a fraction of that amount.
A few of the delighted beneficiaries:
At 9:51, the officer gave out lots and lots more full-argument tickets (capped at 120). Every single one of the recipients arrived after 7 A.M., many after 8 and even 9 A.M. It’s just not true that the only way to secure “the hottest ticket in town” was to spend days enduring nature’s slings and arrows, as was regularly asserted in news articles days before the event.
Here’s me being astonished that 120 tickets were allocated to the general public:
These people, many of them tourists who’d just stumbled onto the next attraction, were waiting for 3-5 minute tickets. All of them received one.
At 10:22, the first 3-minute line headed inside:
More 3-minute-line tickets were passed out at 10:32. These happy Courtwatchers walked over to the entrance at 10:34:
As did these, at 10:42:
A pediatrician expressed support for the ACA (10:49):
The argument concluded shortly after 11:30. It was a three-ring circus on First Street.