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Post-Game Wrap Ups From the Heller Line:
Was it worth it to wait in line for a day or two to see the Heller argument? Apparently so, at least according to the people who did it. GW Law students Tyson Horrocks and Ryan Haws were #3 and #4 in line, and they raved about the experience. A few questions I asked them:
Kerr: So you waited in line for about 36 hours for the Heller argument. Was it worth it?
Haws: Absolutely. Oral arguments were incredibly interesting, and the Justices' interplay over the limits of the second amendment was lively and included some great one-liners. I feel like I couldn't have chosen a better day for a first visit.

Kerr: What was the high point of the experience?
Haws: The argument was obviously the high point, but the wait wasn't bad. The line was full of law students, attorneys, and gun enthusiasts, and the discussion was always interesting. Also, who can complain about having so much time to spend reading the best casebook ever?

Kerr: What was the low point of the experience?
Horrocks: The low point was Sunday night into Monday morning. The wind was brisk so it was FREEZING cold. It was one of those mornings that you looked at your clock around 3 in the morning and were thankful the night was halfway over.

Kerr: What did you do with all your stuff when you finally got into the Supreme Court building?
Horrocks: Ryan Haws' wife came and picked up the bulky gear at around 6:15 Tuesday morning. The rest of our stuff was placed into a locker inside the building.
Another group of GW law students was near the end of the line that got in to the argument; "Mr. MG" filed his report here.
George Weiss (mail) (www):
Was it worth it to wait in line for a day or two to see the Heller argument? Apparently so, at least according to the people who did it.

confirmation bias-you dont want to admit something wasnt worth it after you did it

Oral arguments were incredibly interesting, and the Justices' interplay over the limits of the second amendment was lively and included some great one-liners. I feel like I couldn't have chosen a better day for a first visit.

yes. i enjoyed it to. from my house.

The wind was brisk so it was FREEZING cold. It was one of those mornings that you looked at your clock around 3 in the morning and were thankful the night was halfway over.

enough said
3.21.2008 6:53pm
gab:
These guys deserve to become lawyers.
3.21.2008 7:33pm
Elliot Reed (mail):
George—I basically agree, but I think it's more likely to be a cognitive dissonance effect than a result of confirmation bias. Having gone through fraternity hazing, basic training, or 1L year increases the perceived value of your frat membership, service membership, or law school education because it would produce cognitive dissonance to believe that you put yourself through all that pain for nothing. The same effect could easily be at work here.
3.21.2008 7:36pm
Dave N (mail):
I am still curious about when the Supreme Court bar member's line started and how many members of the Supreme Court bar were actually turned away due to a lack of seating (I am guessing that section was filled as well).

I am also wondering how malodorous these students were--though I realize that those next to them in line were probably equally pungent.
3.21.2008 7:38pm
Jeff B. (mail):
I object to the SHAMELESS CASEBOOK PIMPING in this post. For shame, Professor Kerr!
3.21.2008 7:40pm
George Weiss (mail) (www):
elliot reed-

whatever ok.
3.21.2008 7:41pm
OrinKerr:
BestCasebookEver, Jeff B.,

Have you lost your sense of irony? You guys are way too earnest.
3.21.2008 7:54pm
Terrivus:
The GW student's report says that Justice Thomas asked two questions early on during the Heller argument. The transcript (and the lack of media coverage that would surround such a momentous event) provides otherwise. I think they were mistaking his early "questions" for his announcing the opinion in the Washington State election case.

Guess they really were tired.
3.21.2008 7:54pm
LM (mail):
Orin,

What you assume is JeffB's irony deficiency may just be his failure to express it very well. I've been victimized by and victimized others with that failing so often in blogs and comments, while rarely in person, letters or other writings, that I suspect there's something about blogs and comments that obscures irony. I prefer the self-congratulatory explanation that it's because some people like me resist using those ad hoc smiley-faces, emoticons and such. But real life hardly ever cooperates with such convenient explanations.
3.21.2008 8:19pm
OrinKerr:
LM,

How dare you insult me so brazenly! You are banished forever!
3.21.2008 8:27pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
I am still curious about when the Supreme Court bar member's line started and how many members of the Supreme Court bar were actually turned away due to a lack of seating (I am guessing that section was filled as well).

I showed up at 6 AM and was no. 28. I'm told that up to No. 55-56 got into the courtroom, and the rest went into the overflow at the attorneys' lounge. Joe Olson, who was in there, said there was spare room.

As far as Thomas questions -- no, there were none.
3.21.2008 8:33pm
LM (mail):

How dare you insult me so brazenly! You are banished forever!

Yup. That's just about my threshhold.
3.21.2008 9:45pm
federal farmer (www):
here are some photos I took:
3.22.2008 12:55am
Mr. MG (mail) (www):
Ok so Thomas DIDN'T ask any questions in the Heller case, my bad.

As for whether or not it was worth it: I'm divided. If I had more info to better prepare myself for sleeping outside and the wait in line, I might have had an easier time and not hated that part of it so much. Especially being so tired and nodding off a few times (and misinterpreting when the Justices speak apparently) kind of impaired it for me. But I'd never seen a Supreme Court hearing before (live or otherwise) nor been inside the building so to get to do both on such an occasion was memorable. I guess I'll go with: it was slightly worth it. Of the other two GW 1L's that I was with, one says he would have rather just watched it on tv and the other says it was definitely worth it.

And thanks for the link Prof. Kerr!
3.22.2008 2:27am
henri (mail):
Yeah, given the fact that the audio was broadcast live on CSPAN (or CNN?), it's hard to argue that waiting in line 36 hours was worth it.

From a purely economic view, very few rational students can say it was worth it. I would wager that most students would say their time was worth at least $10/hr (e.g., would any work for a professor for less than that, even if that professor is Orin Kerr?). Then, ask those same students whether they would have paid $360 to attend the argument without waiting, i.e., essentially buying the first spot in line). I think most students would decline.

Even more true for those crazy lawyers who waited in the SCt bar line. I know one partner who waited in line from 5am. His billing rate is easily $600/hr. Would he pay $3000 or more to attend the argument w/o waiting, even though he could listen on TV for free? I don't think so.
3.22.2008 11:21am
Dave N (mail):
henri,

I tend to disagree from the standpoint that Heller may be the important case this term--and how often can one say they actually watched history in the making?
3.22.2008 8:34pm