U.S. Supreme Court

An early line forms for oral arguments on gay marriage

SCOTUS watchers and paid placeholders began forming a line outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday for Tuesday’s oral arguments on California’s ban on gay marriage.

Over the weekend, nearly 30 people formed a line, according to the New York Times blog the Caucus. The first people arrived on Thursday evening, CNN reports. About 250 seats are reserved for the general public.

John Winslow, director of operations for LineStanding.com, told the Caucus his company charges $50 an hour for people to stand in line. He has between 50 and 60 line holders available and believes he may have to redirect some of his workers who are employed as couriers to handle SCOTUS line duty.

His company used to dispatch line holders no more than 24 hours before oral arguments, but that changed when the Supreme Court considered the Obama administration’s health care law. “That one was historically significant and the first time we’ve ever done three days in line,” Winslow told the Caucus.

Some are criticizing the practice of line holding as favoring those who can afford to pay for it. Former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank says line holders would not be necessary if the Supreme Court allowed cameras. “It’s a disgrace that they do not allow these hearings to be televised,” he told the Caucus.

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