U.S. Supreme Court

Line for Health Care Arguments Started Friday Morning; Pouring Rain Adds to Ordeal


Waiting in line to view the U.S. Supreme Court’s health care arguments became more of an ordeal early Sunday when the rain began to pour. More than two dozen people who were lined up had to take shelter under ponchos and tarps because of a rule that bans tents.

The line to snag one of 60 some seats for the public began by 9:30 a.m. Friday, the New York Times reports. The first two people would not give their names, though the person in the No. 1 spot told the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) he accepted $600 for his seat. The second person was also said to be a professional placeholder.

No. 3 was professional line-stander Hans Scheltema, who hired a homeless man to fill in for a few hours on Sunday, the Washington Post blog Post Now reports. Scheltema told the blog he made $50,000 standing in line last year.

A supporter of the law, 57-year-old Atlanta trial lawyer Kathie McClure, was originally sixth in line, the New York Times says. She moved up to the No. 5 spot after two professional placeholders holding the fourth and fifth spots left the line. Their supervisor argued to get the spots back, but recovered only one of the two.

According to the Times, McClurg has two children with health problems. She has roamed the country in a purple bus to encourage support for the law. She told the Times the court should be televising the arguments so no one has to wait in line. “Insurance coverage for 30 million people is on the line, and we’re having to sleep on the sidewalk to get a peep at what goes on in there?” she said.

Prior coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “US Supreme Court Nixes Cameras During Oral Arguments in Challenge to Obama Health-Care Law”

ABAJournal.com: “Lawyers and Pols Jockey for Seats at Supreme Court Health Care Arguments”

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