Observations From Inside the Supreme Court

My coverage of what it was like to be inside the Supreme Court during the health care ruling for Watchdog Wire:

“Hundreds stood in line outside the Supreme Court this morning, waiting to be allowed inside to hear the reading of this monumental case. Hundreds of others gathered in crowds outside, ready to protest or support the decision. The press milled around them, gathering footage, while police tried to maintain order as the hot morning drew on.

I joined the crowd at 6:30 a.m., hoping for the chance to be let inside to hear the court’s decision read. At least 150 were already standing in line by the time I arrived. Two people in front of me argued about whether or not the Affordable Care Act was constitutional. Reporters walked by, interviewing the more vocal people standing in line.

As Chief Justice John Roberts read the decision, the room was silent except for the sound of people frantically writing on their notepads and the occasional cough. When the audience realized that the mandate had been upheld, a sense of relieve and intensity filled the room. Friends looked at each other in surprise from across the room. The court stayed silent as Justices Kennedy and Ginsburg read their dissents. Ginsburg only dissented in part. As the room was released, whispers began to spring up, some in support of the ruling, some against.

Outside, the tension that I felt in the court room seemed to follow. Rep. Michele Bachmann read a speech to the crowd, angered at the decision by the court. Others in the crowd yelled out in protest. The two groups surged at each other, while reporters whizzed around, wanting to document every aspect of the protest. Tourists stood by taking photos while policemen tried to maintain a sense of order in the small courtyard. America finally had the answer to the question they had been asking for years: what would happen to healthcare? The Affordable Care Act has been upheld, but changed to reflect the decision of the court. What exactly that means to the states and to the American people will be determined in the coming months.”

Read the full story here.

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