June 27th, 2012
07:03 PM ET
10 years ago

Standing in line for the rock star of court decisions

Washington (CNN) – Visitors in Washington are accustomed to lines - at the marble monuments, outside the dozens of museums and finally at the airport on their way home.

But on the eve of the most anticipated Supreme Court decision in years, another line is forming in the nation's capital: outside the building where nine justices will make history Thursday.

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Along the sidewalk on First Street NE, three people had lined up as of Wednesday afternoon, prepared to spend the night outside in anticipation of Thursday's 10 a.m. ET ruling. The number of tickets available to the public varies from case to case but is typically around 50.

Laura Brennaman, a registered nurse who traveled to Washington from Fort Myers, Florida, on Wednesday, said her proximity to America's health care system led her to believe President Barack Obama's law was necessary.

"People in this country need access to health care," said Brennaman, seated in a red fabric chair just feet from the west front of the court. "I'm a nurse. I've watched people come into emergency rooms for the last 30 years who haven't had access to primary care and preventative care, and they come in with very significant, very advanced chronic health problems that are expensive to treat and offer a lot of disability."

READ MORE: Supreme Court decision on polarizing health care law looms

Thursday's ruling, Brennaman said, would be historic, no matter how the court rules.

"I'm passionate about health care, and history is going to be made tomorrow," she said. "I had the opportunity, because they announced when they were going to issue the opinion in advance, to grab and airplane ticket and fly up and sit here all night, and I just thought I was gonna grab the opportunity and do it."

To Brennaman's right sat Dutch Anderson, a high school history teacher from Pleasanton, California, who said he would add Thursday's ruling to a list of historical benchmarks.

"I'm just going to take it in," Anderson said. "To see in person the Supreme Court justices, and to be a part of history, and to know that I'm in one of the view seats available, and I'm there, it's like, I know where I was when Kennedy was shot, I know where I was on 9/11, and I can say I know where I was when the Supreme Court ruled on the health care law."

No matter which way the court rules, Anderson said, the American system of government would be at its most visible Thursday.

"What I hope happens is the law's interpreted correctly by the justices, and our system of government will not fail us, and they'll render a decision that will be good for the people," Anderson said.

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Filed under: Health care • Supreme Court
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Larry L

    If the right-wing activists members of the US Supreme Court vote to gut this law it will be time to take a hard look at our government – decide if it's worth pretending the Court actually offers Americans a balance of power. It appears from rulings by Republicans (not "conservative" – Republicans) controlling the Court the institution is nothing more than a political tool to deliver outcomes rather than judgements based on our Constitution. Can Justices be "bought & paid for" like the corporate lap-dogs they seem determined to defend? Will fascism displace democracy because of Justices like Scalia and Thomas?

    June 27, 2012 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  2. w l jones

    I said it once now I am going to say it again ,we had two doctor in this little town where I were born one waited on all citizen the other only on one segiment . The midwife had problem my parent doc. were unavable so they sermon he said he did not waite on those kind so my mother said seek him again he said three dollar but only charge ttwo and fiftycent his other costom My father only made fifty cent a day. So he went all over town collecting pennies before old delivered me. This is one reason we need this health care plan. Bless.

    June 27, 2012 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  3. Roy

    Before Obama we had TAXPAYER FUNDED HEALTHCARE. Freeloaders could go to the emergency room and get care for free.

    Obamacare has a MANDATE so that freeloaders must buy insurance. This REDUCES what taxpayers must pay.

    That is why repealing Obamacare will make the Deficit bigger.

    June 27, 2012 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  4. ana

    This very important everyone needs to have heath care.

    June 27, 2012 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  5. Thomas

    Put it this way ,
    I wouldn't want the Supreme Court umpiring a bassball game .

    Imagen Justice Scalia ,Thomas or Roberts behind home plate ...

    June 27, 2012 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  6. J,V.Hodgson

    Despite the hopes and desires of many US citizens and the needy in our nation a repeat of Citizens United abomina ble decision is the most likely, i.e a biased decision. Without thinking even, Scalia and Alito are likely to want to strike down the whole law, but might come up instead with some convoluted reasons to destroy more than one part which in effect makes the whole inoperable to do that they have to Ignore previous SCOTUS decisions of the Injunction Act which they will find a way around.
    No one yet knows the Obiter Dicta and I am not sure that it comes out tomorrow anyway.
    We will see.
    To do the decisions " justice" one will need time to read and fully comprehend both Majority and minority opinions fully and properly before any win /loss victory or defeat whatever is pronounced at least 24/ 48 hours including citation understanding will be needed, to comment realistically in a non partisan way.

    June 27, 2012 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  7. chuck weidemann

    These people quoted in this article are what makes up most of our population.... They belive in our system....put their faith into what has been working for the past 200 years!!! Radicalism is not what has made this country great....finding solutions through compromise,temperance and a resolve to do what's right for the many while protecting the few. Americans want a government that works,not one that only serves the haves and says too bad to the have not's.....justice needs to be blind we are waiting!!!

    June 27, 2012 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  8. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I hope that the ACA is deemed acceptable. That is the best way at this point to get many more Americans some level of heath insurance and medical coverage. I am a lucky one where my job has a health insurance program. It is part of the union contract I believe.

    June 27, 2012 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  9. Donkey Party

    Get your seats early, there's no telling what the conservative activist judges will legislate from the bench next.

    June 27, 2012 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  10. MikeB

    The 'Historic Decision' isn't about 'Health Care'. It's about whether the 'Affordable Care Act' establishes a 'Social Doctrine' as our 'State Religion'. Where the Executive Branch and its Agencies act as 'Clergy' to define, redefine, mandate, and enforce the ideologies of the faction controlling the Executive Branch. All subject to change with each change in factional control of the Presidency. What doesn't have a 'Health' concern associated with it? Keystone Pipeline, Coal Mining, EPA, NLRB, FDA, etc ...
    Agencies should never have the power to set regulatory decrees and mandates that end up being punitive to those not politically in line with the faction in control or to set mandates and decrees to pander to or reward political loyalist. All of which has little or no 'Congressional Oversight'.
    Agencies should not have the power to create Regulations or Mandates; that should remain the responsibility of Congress. Agencies should only have the authority to carry out established 'Law' that is approved by the 'Three Branches of the Federal Government'. Letting the Executive Branch create Regulations and Mandates as though they are Law is a violation of the 'Separation of Powers'. Legislative authority should not be in the hands of the Executive Branch or its agencies.

    June 27, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  11. Lobo

    At ten in the morning history will be made. it will show if our system is still for the people. if it is overturned it will show that the system works. if it is up held it will show our government is now corrupt and in need of a overhaul.

    June 27, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  12. 2020

    How possible the world's most admired country have such a broken health care system. Its own citizens' health – which is the human capital of a first class economy, worse than that of the third world. Why and how Americans, especially the die hard GOP can live with their conscience. IT IS A SELF DESTRUCTIVE TO THE FUTURE OF THIS GREAT COUNTRY.

    June 28, 2012 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  13. Gurgyl

    This law is a dire need in USA.

    June 28, 2012 07:13 am at 7:13 am |