The Supreme Court holds two hearings on Wednesday, the third day of its historic session on the national health-care overhaul signed into law by President Obama.
4 p.m. | Now that the party’s over...
The party’s over outside the Supreme Court, meaning that all the protesters who’ve had a ball there for days, and all the professional line-standers who’ve made pretty good money there, have to find something else to do.
A 78-year-old guy who sported a giant foam justice head – he thinks it’s Justice Stevens but he’s not sure -- said he’s headed to Brazil for more dental work.
“I go down to Brazil and get my teeth fixed – seven implants – and I paid $2,000 for transportation and I ended up [saving] $12,000,” said the man, who goes by Moondancer, lives in Silver Spring and works as Santa Claus in season.
Noon | Linda Dorr worries about breast cancer detection
Linda Dorr of Laguna Beach, Calif., has been a regular, jaunty presence at the Supreme Court since Saturday, sporting berets and headbands and a sign that reads: “Obamacare rations breast cancer detection.”
Dorr, 66, has a history of breast cancer that she said could have gone undetected under the law. Hers was spotted in 2009 with an ultrasound. Dorr conceded that the health-care overhaul provides for yearly mammograms, but said she was concerned that it would not allow for more advanced imaging.
“I just want the right to work with my doctors,” she said.
Come Thursday, she will see some sights in Washington before flying home to California, where she has an interior design business specializing in stone work. Already, she’s been impressed with all of the marble – “There’s a lot of Carrara” – and been shocked to discover that the interior of the Capitol is ultra-soft sandstone.
“It’s one of the softest stones they have,” Dorr said.
11:30 a.m. | Anthony Kennedy gets a shout-out in Schenk prayer
Justice Anthony Kennedy, considered the court’s swing vote, got a special shout-out in a prayer led by the Rev. Rob Schenck, president of the National Clergy Council, which opposes the health-care law.
It was a surprisingly long prayer considering that Schenck and a handful of Tea Partiers who joined him were on their knees on the sidewalk in front of the court. Schenck was smart enough to bring along a foam knee pad for himself, but most of the others toughed it out on the concrete. (One woman tucked a pair of fuzzy gloves under her knees.)
Schenck quoted Scripture and asked for prayers for each Supreme Court justice by name, paying extra attention to Kennedy, “in whose mind and hands ... it appears this case may rest.”
11 a.m. | Bongos to the left, bells to the right
The left had bongos. The right, bells.
Along with megaphones and microphones, they kept the noise level up even with the head count down.
Susan Clark was the bell ringer. Decked out in a tri-cornered hat, fringed suede boots and red war paint that took the form of a handprint over her mouth, she was part patriot, part Native American impersonator -- just like the original Tea Party crew.
“I’m the one who threw it over the boat,” she told a radio reporter.
What will she do Thursday, when there will be no Supreme Court hearing to protest?
“Look for other ways to protect my country,” she said.
9 a.m. | The guy in the gorilla suit finally shows up
There’s a much smaller crowd outside the Supreme Court Wednesday, the third and final day of arguments on the federal health-care overhaul.
Tea Party critics of the law and “Obamacare” supporters are out with signs, bells and microphones, but in much smaller numbers than Monday and Tuesday. Severability and Medicaid — the subjects of separate morning and afternoon hearings Wednesday — clearly are not packing ‘em in like the “individual mandate,” the hot-button issue that was the subject of Tuesday’s session.
Even the line to get into the hearings has dwindled considerably. After observers were let into the court for the morning session, there were just three paid line-standers holding spots for the afternoon.
One new feature today: a guy in a gorilla suit. He held a giant banana that read: “We don’t monkey with the truth.”
6 a.m. | Day 3: What to expect
The Supreme Court’s first hearing on Wednesday at 10 a.m. will focus on whether the whole law goes down the drain if the justices don’t uphold the “individual mandate” that was the subject of Tuesday’s hearing. The second, at 1 p.m., will consider whether the law’s expansion of Medicaid is constitutional.
Outside the courtroom, protests continue. Supporters of the law hold a news conference at 8:30 a.m., featuring more people sharing personal stories about how the overhaul has helped them.
As Wednesday is the final day of arguments, it’s also the day when the professional line-standers, who’ve camped out on the sidewalk for days on behalf of court observers, finally get to go home — if they have one.
What questions do you have about the health care legal challenges? Post them in the comments below or tweet them with #AskThePost and Supreme Court reporter Robert Barnes will answer them each day.