All told, Kathie ended up spending 92 hours in line. She e-mailed Thursday to say she had returned to Atlanta safely, and to share a few insights on what it’s like to spend four nights sleeping on the Supreme Court sidewalk:
I wanted to see the Supreme Court’s health care arguments with my own two eyes because my kids are sick with incurable illnesses, Type 1 diabetes and epilepsy, and are uninsurable in the private insurance market. Court doesn’t allow television cameras, leaving me no option but to join the queue on the sidewalk.
Memories of my 92-hour urban camp-out are tinged by extreme sleep deprivation. I’ve never pulled four all-nighters in a row -- not in law school or child-rearing – much less outside in rain and freezing temps with a pop-up chair, flimsy sleeping bag, and a tarp. (No tents are allowed.) Thank goodness for the camaraderie of my fellow campers and the caffeine and central heat at the Capitol Hill Starbucks.
Inside the Court’s cloistered chambers, the justices clashed just as throngs of Americans grappled outside. I left wondering whether the conservative justices understood that the long arm of interstate commerce reaches into my children’s lives every day keeping them uninsurable.
All that was pushed aside as I departed the sidewalk, camping gear in tow. I had three things in mind: a burger, a bath and a warm bed, in that order.
McClure was outside the Court about 15 times longer than oral arguments even lasted. So was it worth what she describes as “92 variously wet, cold and sleepless hours”? Yes, she writes, “because for me liberty is the right to see very personal justice being dispensed with my own two eyes.”