Waiting on the sidewalk for a front seat to witness history

Chris Crawford, Health Care, Supreme Court, scotus
Sophomore Chris Crawford, right, was one of several dozen people camped outside the Supreme Court Monday evening hoping to get tickets to watch oral arguments on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Becky Crowder | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Chris Crawford has been sleeping on the sidewalk and living out of a suitcase for the past two days.

The sophomore was anxiously waiting outside the Supreme Court to hear day two of the oral arguments regarding the individual mandate in the controversial Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

“This is such a huge court case and the chance to be inside the courtroom for something like that is just amazing,” Crawford said.

When he first took his place in line at 11 p.m. Sunday, Crawford joined 54 people already in front of him. He brought books, hoping to get ahead in some of his classes, a blanket and comforter, a laptop – to blog and tweet about his experience – deodorant and a toothbrush along with lots of Orbit gum.

His first night outside the court was spent alone, but he was joined Monday by fellow student Stephan Schneider along with other friends who visited and saved his spot while Crawford went to find a nearby bathroom.

Crawford is braving the elements not only because he feels this is a chance to witness history – he calls himself “not so much an activist, but a political nerd” – but also because of his strong feelings about the case.

“I have a pretty libertarian view of the government so the idea that the government can tell people they have to buy something is, I think, very dangerous,” he said.

Crawford predicted that Monday morning, the first day of oral arguments, would be a “zoo.”

He was right.

Protestors marched with posters and flags, chanting their support from both sides as media swarmed in, filling the sidewalk outside the historic building.

“This is one of the biggest cases in many years. This is the reason why I go to GW,” Schneider said.

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