Posted on March 23, 2012 at 2:09 pm by Lyle Denniston
The Supreme Court will start hearings on the constitutionality of the new health care law promptly at 10 a.m. next Monday. But people seeking to get seats for that hearing on the Affordable Care Act have already begun to get into line in front of the Court building. Two individuals started the line at about 9:30 a.m. Friday — 72 1/2 hours ahead of time. They and others joining them will be allowed by Court police to remain in line if they wish, during the weekend. Individuals in such lines can be there for themselves, or as place-holders for someone not willing to spend the time waiting.
The Supreme Court’s public information officer, Kathleen L. Arberg, said in response to a query about access to the hearings: “The Court usually tries to hold a minimum of 50 seats for the general public, but for these arguments the Marshal is holding a minimum of 60. There are an additional 34 seats for the 3-5 minute line (these seats rotate every 3 minutes or so). Seating is first-come, first-served. There were two people in line this morning at 9:30 a.m. The line remains unofficial until early Monday morning, when the police will begin the seating process.”
A poll conducted this week by the cable network, C-SPAN, which will be broadcasting on radio and television the audiotapes the Court will release after each day’s hearings Monday through Wednesday, showed wide public interest in the ACA case. Here were some of the key poll findings: “Virtually all Americans (95%) are interested in next week’s cases concerning the constitutionality of the health care reform law; 91% of Americans plan to closely follow news and stories on these cases; over half, 54%, say they will make an effort to listen to the audio recordings.”