Our reporter Aram Rostam was inside the Supreme Court when it made its historic ruling this morning. The scene:
Inside the Supreme Court building, it was all business. This is an efficient operation with its own police force, café and gift shop. About 160 lucky Americans, many of whom had waited outside all night to hear the historic ruling on health care reform, were finally allowed in and were now standing in single file in a corridor. They’d been issued orange admission cards stamped with their place in line.
The first on line was Carol Anderson, a blonde woman who says she works as a researcher for a living and believed the law “will force Catholics to go against their conscience.” She had tucked her admissions card, stamped with the number 1, into a framed picture of Mother Mary. She said she got to courthouse at 12:30 PM yesterday: “Some kind reporter from CBS lent me his folding chair. When you hit fifty and you don’t get sleep, it affects you more then when you are twenty.”
Behind her, with admissions card number two, stood Laura Brennaman, a registered nurse who had flown in from Ft. Myers, Florida, an ardent supporter of the bill. Though Brennaman and Anderson hold opposing views on the Affordable Care Act, they barely discussed it for the 20 hours they sat next to each other. Brennaman says she’d waited in relative comfort. “I brought a little camping folding chair,” she said. “It reclines. I probably slept a total of an hour last night. But I can sleep on the plane back. And I brought some trail mix and some tuna fish in a can. I’m good.”
Behind Brennaman was Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-IA). The Republican firebrand, who had fought so hard against the law when it passed, was leaning against the wall near a portrait of Justice Edward T. Sanford. Brennaman said she noticed that members of Bachmann’s staff had taken two-hour shifts holding the Congresswoman’s place over night. “They were lovely,” added Brennan. “They all made it quite clear that they volunteered and they were happy to do it for her.” Bachmann’s office didn’t respond to requests for comment.