A snowy Monday morning failed to deter nearly 200 hopefuls in line for seats at the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic arguments on same-sex marriage.
The court reported that 175 (some of whom were paid stand-ins) had braved the elements throughout the weekend to enhance their chances of getting into the arguments on Tuesday and Wednesday. About 25 members of the Supreme Court bar (or their surrogates) began standing in line on Friday.
The court has filled all of the press requests that it can accommodate—118—and it will have overflow seating in the public affairs office for about another dozen. The audio of the arguments will be piped in for those journalists.
As with last March’s healthcare arguments, the same-sex marriage cases have attracted international attention. Among the press are reporters from the Guardian, the Irish Times, Voice of Russia, El Pais, several German media outlets and other publications.
"We had more requests than we had seats, but we were able to accommodate most," said Kathleen Arberg, the court’s public information officer.
The justices are releasing same-day audio of the arguments as well as the written transcripts. The court said it will post the audio recordings and the unofficial transcripts as soon as the digital files are available for uploading. The recordings and transcripts should be accessible no later than 1 p.m. on March 26 and 2 p.m. on March 27 through links on the homepage of the court’s website ( www.supremecourt.gov).
Tuesday’s case is Hollingsworth v. Perry in which proponents of California’s ban on same sex marriage, known as Proposition 8, ask whether the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment prohibits California from defining marriage as the union between a man and woman. The court has scheduled one hour of argument in Perry. On Wednesday, the justices will hear U.S. v. Windsor, in which the justices are asked if section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, defining marriage as the union of a man and woman for all federal purposes, violates the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection. That argument has been given 110 minutes.
Marcia Coyle can be contacted at email@example.com.