Waiting in line

March 25, 2012 | By TIMOTHY SANDEFUR

I got to the U.S. Supreme Court building at 1:45 am. Weather gorgeous; cherry blossom time; hundreds of birds singing in the trees. I’m tenth in line. (And that’s the Supreme Court Bar line, not the regular-people line.)

Two Snickers bars, a bag of trail mix, three bottles of water, David Shipler’s new book, and eight hours till the argument starts. Here we go.

2:45 am: There’s a group of four or five people with a guitar across the street, singing. Wonder who they are?

3:36 am: starting to get chilly. It’s supposed to get down to 54 around 6 am. I’m in line behind a professional line-sitter (they’re said to make about $36 an hour) who lent me his chair while he takes a nap. Sprinklers just came on (at a safe distance, fortunately). Taking a break from Shipler to listen to Daniel Walker Howe’s What Hath God Wrought.

4:00 am: Starbucks opens at 4:30. Will we make it?

5:07 am: Made it to the Starbucks.

5:29 am: Still only about 20 people in the lawyer line. But the media’s been here doing live TV reports from the front steps since at least 4.

5:47 am: One thing I’ll never get used to in D.C. are the rats scurrying around the sidewalks.

6:14 am: I believe Virginia Attirney General Ken Cuccinelli has joined the line. We filed several briefs in support of his challenge to Obamacare.

6:39: Gorgeous sunrise beginning. Also, Ilya Shapiro from Cato has arrived.

7:28: Clerk of the Court William Suter came out a while ago to speak to people in line. I have therefore put on my tie.

7:42: Now they’ve let us in the building. That means we get to stand in line for another hour and forty five minutes. No seats or benches are provided to lawyers, and you’re absolutely not allowed to sit on the floor. But I’m now third in line, thanks to the generosity of the Cato Institute’s interns, who waited in line since 10 last night.