Is the Supreme Court actually charging admission to witness legal arguments? No. It’s free. But given the historic nature of the debates over California’s gay-marriage ban and the federal Defense of Marriage Act, the high court’s ban on TV broadcasts of its cases, and the extremely low number of seats available to the general public (60 – 90!), waiting in line for a ticket has taken days. That’s a task some would rather pay others to do. And they’ve been paying them as much as $6,000 a seat.
Though some line standers are surely freelancers being paid under the table, there are professional line-standing services as well (including Linestanding.com, a “leader in the Congressional line standing business since 1985“).
If you’re not one of the 500 court staff, journalists, guests, Supreme Court bar lawyers, and Joe Schmos in attendance today, you will be able to read transcripts and listen to audio recordings of the arguments two hours after each case ends.