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Going into today’s oral argument, George W. Bush may have had a 5-4 advantage inside the Supreme Court. But Al Gore appeared to command the majority of the demonstrators outside. Of course, the Gore camp had more to protest: On Saturday, the Court’s more conservative members had ordered a stop to manual vote recounts in Florida that are critical to the vice president’s chances for the White House. The coalition of Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justices Sandra Day O’Connor, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, and Clarence Thomas bore the brunt of the angry Gore supporters today. “Count the votes, traitors,” read one sign, which featured cutout pictures of the five justices. “Impeach Scalia et al,” read another. “Get politics out of the Supreme Court and vice versa,” read a third sign. Outnumbered but no less passionate were the Bush supporters. “Supreme Court please stop the madness today!” one signed begged, its holder hoping for a quick ruling sealing Gore’s electoral fate. Mike Wallace, a Bush backer from Stafford, Va., noted that today’s crowd was a little smaller than the mob that gathered 10 days ago, when the first high court argument took place. “I think most people see the handwriting on the wall,” he said. The weather certainly could have been another factor in the smaller crowds. Round One took place on a chilly but sunny day; Monday was wet and barely above freezing. About 200 people stood in line along East Capitol Street for the chance to see the arguments in person, at least 60 or so waiting since early Sunday. By comparison, about 300 waited for the Dec. 1 arguments, said John Fucetola, a 20 year old who waited in the cold for both arguments. Attorneys in particular shied away from waiting for a seat to Bush-Gore II. On Dec. 1, well over 100 stood in line just to get into the Supreme Court’s lawyers lounge, where the argument could be heard on a loudspeaker. A handful waited in line Monday, the no-shows likely willing to wait until news networks played the Court-released audiotape immediately after the argument. The crowds outside let out deafening cheers when lawyers and politicians exited the courthouse. They cheered wildly for Rev. Jesse Jackson and lustily booed Bush attorney Theodore Olson and the two senior members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and ranking minority member Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. They embraced lead Gore lawyer David Boies as if he were a rock star, chanting, “Thank you, David!”

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