By far, my favorite experience this summer as an intern was when I was able to go on the front steps of the United States Supreme Court on June 27, at 9:45am. It was the last day of the term for the Supreme Court, and the justices were expected to hand down major decisions, notably in the case regarding Texas’ restrictions that would have closed many of the facilities that provide abortions in the state.
When I arrived, I immediately noticed that there were two groups of people gathered. One group was in favor of the restrictions, and the other was against. They were clearly divided not only in opinion but in the place they occupied on the front steps, with a clear cutoff between supporters of both sides. There were chants, there was music, and there was a sense that whichever way the ruling went, passions would not simply dissipate immediately after.
I then noticed that some people were walking up much closer to the Court, and I asked an officer if I could do the same. Low and behold, as long as you are not “protesting,” you can walk right up to the top of the steps, much closer than the protesters are allowed to go.
As the clock neared 10:00am, when decisions would start to be handed down, the tension in the crowd rose. And then, at roughly 10:05, with countless people staring at SCOTUSblog on their phones, cheers rose from the side against the restrictions, as their side had been victorious. More music was played, hugs were shared by those pleased with the decision, though chants against the ruling emanated from the other side. After half an hour of this, the crowd began to thin, with protesters on both sides doing TV interviews as I walked past.
As an avid court-watcher, this was a day that I had long dreamed of, and it lived up to expectations. I watched the interns run down the steps with the decisions, joined in chants, and witnessed history firsthand. It was a day I will not soon forget.