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Georgetown 3L Becoming the Ultimate Supreme Court Watcher

I was intrigued to read yesterday about a new project launched by Mike Sacks, a third-year law student at Georgetown who describes himself as "interested in legal journalism and the intersection of law and politics." This semester, Sacks intends to be the first person in the general admission line for every Supreme Court argument, i.e., the “First One @ One First Street." Once he starts the line and stakes out his piece of pavement, Sacks will be waiting for others to arrive so that he can ask a simple but intriguing question: "Why are you here?"

Sacks says that while the issues, tactics and parties involved in every Supreme Court case are well-reported, "no Supreme Court reporters ever ask the Courtroom’s spectators why they have congregated inside the Temple of our Civil Religion." He explains in the initial post on his "First One @ One First" blog that:

[T]he vox populi should matter for those interested in the Court. What does the person in line at 5am hope to see in this case? Why is the family that shows up at 9am hoping to get in? How many of those waiting for the doors to open are lawyers invested in the litigation or legal issues at play or professionals or citizens who will be impacted by how the Court may rule? How many people exiting the Court even understood what they just saw and heard? 

More recent posts show that Sacks has been able to get the coveted "#1" ticket on several occasions. But not always:


Here is Sacks' post from yesterday summarizing his experience to date on how visitors can make sure they get a seat at Supreme Court arguments. (Hint: come really, really early.)

Posted by Bruce Carton on January 19, 2010 at 10:38 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)


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