On the eve of the first day of oral arguments challenging President Obama’s healthcare reform act, the line to get a seat inside had reached about 50 people long. Legal enthusiasts, health care professionals, paid line holders and citizens for and against the law began lining up at 9:00 a.m. Friday.
Tickets have been distributed to lawyers, policy aides, and lawmakers who are closely involved in the passage or are challenging the bill now.
Michelle Bachmann, a well-known critic of the law, scored tickets inside as the author of legislation to repeal the law.
The controversial law has attracted a dedicated and diverse group of people eager to get inside the chamber.
“The role that I’m playing here today is really not a political one, I’m really interested in being a part of something very historic. So I’m trying not to get engaged in the debate all around me,” explained Jill Andres.
Others in line felt very strongly about the political ramifications of the law.
“Right now you can just sit and be in your living room and not do anything and the government can't touch you-- as long as you are not breaking any laws,” said David Morse, a 26-year old student.
“After this, you know, sitting--if you don't have healthcare you might be breaking the law and through that you know why can't they make you eat broccoli.”
For some ticket hopefuls like Andrew Eiva, religion influenced their feelings about the bill.
“I hope that ObamaCare will either be weakened or stopped. I’m interested in the protection of life as a Catholic, I'm interested in how the five Catholic justices will settle this case.”
After thirty years as an emergency room nurse in Florida, Laura Brennaman does not want to see the law overturned.
“I've watched emergency rooms that are supposed to be the safety nets for people in our country that don't have access to care come in with health problems that are progressive, and have gone beyond where they should have if only they had and opportunity for primary care services,” she said.
“My dad passed away a year and a half ago from cancer and one of the reasons we weren’t able to catch it before it turned fatal is because he didn’t have health care.”
Now, she is worried about her two sisters who are uninsured.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen if they get sick or they get into a car accident, something is going to happen and we’re not going to be able to afford it.”
A majority of those in line were paid placeholders and declined to identify their employers.
Professional line standers are often utilized in Washington to secure seats into hot ticket hearings and Supreme Court cases. Linestanding.com and Washington DC Line Standing are two popular choices, the latter boasting employees that have, “developed significant expertise in all of the sometimes complex details of seat holding and line standing.”
That expertise comes with a hefty $50 hourly rate for place holding at the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court stated on Friday that they are expecting to have 60 seats available to the general public.