Hordes of sweat-soaked supporters of marriage equality gathered outside the steps of the Supreme Court Wednesday morning in anticipation of the landmark cases involving Porposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act.
As Style reporter Monica Hesse detailed, gatherers were baking in the sun while awaiting word on the ruling.
The scene is familiar — crowds huddled together outside the country’s highest court waiting to hear a ruling, see oral arguments or simply express their opinions. Perhaps its a desire to be with like-minded people, or to share a similar experience. Or the desire just to be there. But when there is a monumental case in front of the justices, chances are someone will be outside, waiting.
For our weekly series, we a found several cases and protests that drew supporters to the high court.
In 1958, Thurgood Marshall, then the attorney for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, spoke to reporters and supporters steps from the entrance of the building after arguing the Little Rock integration case for the NAACP. The case, Aaron v. Cooper, was brought against the Arkansas school district on behalf of thirty-three black students who had attempted to register in all-white schools following the Brown v. Board of Education case in 1954. The students later became known as the Little Rock Nine.
The decision regarding access to the Watergate tapes went to the Supreme Court in July of 1974. Crowds of spectators lined up outside the building to get inside and observe arguments before the Court ruled that President Nixon could not use claims of executive privilege to avoid handing over the tapes.
Issues surrounding gay rights have drawn activists to the Court long before the recent arguments surrounding DOMA and Prop 8. In 1987, just days after a march in Washington, gay rights activists attempted to block the steps of the Supreme Court as part of an act of civil disobedience.
And in 1989, pro-life and pro-choice demonstrators compete for attention in front of the Supreme Court, which that day issues an opinion approving some restrictions on the use of state money to fund abortions.