At 10 a.m., on an Indian summer Monday in some future October, a switch will activate two cameras focused on the U.S. Supreme Court. C-SPAN will pick up the feed and telecast it to TV sets around the world.
The Supreme Court will be on the air, Chief Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. presiding, his colleagues having voted him to the post.
Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and David H. Souter will have returned from a summer of circuit riding, touring the country and sitting with federal appellate courts.
That first Monday the justices will be joined by the most recent justice confirmed by the Senate. She was selected because of her trial experience, in order to balance the abundance of former appellate judges.
Under the new term limits, the justice she replaces has been granted senior status, having served his 18-year tenure. In two years, another new justice will take his or her place on the bench—this time perhaps a skilled politician or civil rights lawyer.
Or maybe there will be 19 justices on the bench that first Monday, spread across two risers, ready to hear arguments.