– photographs and messages from inside the Sausurrean Bar –

DC reporting in, #15: The SCOTUS


Monday, May 25th, 2015

DC reporting in, #15: The SCOTUS

Back in April – we’re still in April here, nevermind that May is almost over – I had a rather SCOTUS – Supreme Court of the United States – intensive week. Now, the SCOTUS is located right next to the Library of Congress, to the extent that you can actually see the front steps of the SCOTUS building from the far end of the Kluge Center, including the protesters outside in front of (and on) them.

There were rather a lot of protesters there on the last Tuesday in April, as the oral arguments of Obergefell v. Hodges were being held on that day. I’ve pondered long and hard which photographs to include here, but decided in the end that, nevermind my personal sympathies, I would in fact give you images depicting both sides, as I am – in a limited and invariably subjective fashion – want to and am reporting on what life in DC is like, and simply ignoring half of the protesters would of course to some extent entirely negate that ambition.

And then, on the last Wednesday in April, some fellow Klugians and I met up in front of the Supreme Court at 7am, in order to get into the line to actually go and hear an oral argument. We were by no means the first people in line (see big photo), but were, on the contrary, lucky to get in, as admissions stopped just two people behind us, the actual court room being then at capacity. The case we got the hear was Glossip v. Gross (transcripts and audio recordings of which are available on the SCOTUS website), and while the case was also a morally controversial one it was really interesting to get to observe the different styles and personalities of the 9 different justices (or as much as one can observe those during an oral argument, anyway). N and I also stayed for a chunk of Mata v. Lynch, but not having read up on it quite enough beforehand and not being able to quite hear everything (we were seated in the back row) I got tangled up in the Sua Sponte details of a 5th Circuit Court ruling and as N seemed equally lost we decided to make our seats available to some other folks waiting and to head back to the LoC.

I wish we’d gone to more hearings and done this sooner, as, like I wrote, it was truly fascinating – and made me vividly remember that I do actually hold a BAequiv. in Public Law (Öffentliches Recht).

Oral arguments seem to fall somewhere between a really really tough oral exam and a horse-and-pony-show (judging from my sample of 1.5 of them, so really, what do I know … very little) (although I have of course read and listened to others).

the SCOTUS, shortly after dawn – waiting in line to hear Glossip v. Gross

 Obergefell v. HodgesObergefell v. Hodges
 20150428-Foto 28.04.15 12 08 15  20150428-Foto 28.04.15 12 19 23

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