Bryan Glova '02 with ABC's Ted Koppel in line at the Supreme Court.

 

As the hour of redemption approached on Friday morning, and Ted Koppel was interviewing someone for his show, Nightline, we found out that Mr. Koppel had paid someone $700 to wait in line for him; so he was with us, assuring himself of a top-50 spot in line.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the proceedings began, we noticed that arch-conservative Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC), who was one row in front of us, represented very old men with pride by slouching over and falling asleep with his chin resting against his chest.

 


Magazine
Winter/Spring 2001

In Line with the Fourth Estate
A Wabash junior spends an all-nighter at the Supreme Court to watch the historic election deliberations.


When the outcome of last fall's presidential election was being decided in the United States Supreme Court, the number four man in line to see the proceedings was a Wabash junior.

Bryan Glova, an economics major spending the fall in Washington D.C. enrolled in the College's Washington Semester program suddenly found himself at the center of "a media circus of enormous proportions."

"Everyone in line got their 15-minutes of fame--and then some," Glova reports in a short essay describing his experience. "And since we were at the beginning of the line, we felt like we were getting Backstreet Boy-esque attention. I did an extensive interview for the Channel 7 Miami Nightly News; I was quoted in the Washington Times; my picture is in the New York Times; I was filmed by MSNBC; in addition, I was interviewed by Newsday, Blake Communications, and Bloomberg; and I made the front-page of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution."

The action slowed once Glova was inside the courtroom, where the student's 28-hour vigil in freezing weather with only three hours sleep began to take its toll. Glova nodded off.

"My head fell back and slammed against the wall, making a terribly loud noise," Bryan recalls. "I instantly awoke with several people looking at me. I managed to stay awake for the rest of the hearing."

Here's the whole event--in Bryan's own words:


An Historic All-Nighter
(watching the Supreme Court with
50 other reeking, exhausted, and famished scrubs)

by Bryan Glova '02

We arrived at about 6:30 am, Thursday, November 30 to wait 28 hours for a chance at getting one of a few tickets to the general public for the oral arguments of the Bush v Palm Beach County Canvassing Board US Supreme Court case. The two guys with me, Scott Shryack from Los Angeles and Robert Hutchings from Anchorage, Alaska, are in the Washington Semester Program as well. We were 2-3-4 in line, with the lone guy ahead of us being John, a student at George Washington University.

As the line began to grow rapidly with each passing hour, a crazy, old 73- year-old mule of a man, who took way too much LSD back in the 60s, devised a plan. He said that when he was "number 6 in line for the Whitewater case," they created an unofficial ticketing system, whereby everyone in line got a card with denoting their place in line. So we did the same thing. Thus, with my #4 card in hand, and without the stress of worrying about whether or not someone was going to usurp my ideal place in line, I was ready to wait … for a very long time.

All I can say is that what resulted was a media circus of enormous proportions. Everyone in line got their 15-minutes of fame--and then some. And since we were at the beginning of the line, we felt like we were getting Backstreet Boy-esque attention. I did a short, live, television interview on the Fox 5, Washington, 6:30 morning news; I did an extensive interview for the Channel 7, Miami nightly news; I was quoted in the Washington Times; my picture is in the New York Times; while reading a book, I was filmed by MSNBC; in addition, I was interviewed by Newsday, Blake Communications (Louisville to Idaho), and Bloomberg; I am on the front-page of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. And this is only the media coverage that I know of one day after the spectacle—not to mention the TV shots and periodical coverage that we never found.

As the hour of redemption approached on Friday morning, and Ted Koppel was interviewing someone for his show, Nightline, we found out that Mr. Koppel had paid someone $700 to wait in line for him; so he was with us, assuring himself of a top-50 spot in line.

When a security officer came out to let inside the first 50 people, there was a general clamor, but they honored our unofficial ticketing system, and I was the 4th person to get into the courtyard. On the front steps, the protestors and their spectacle was epidemic, with NOW, Jesse Jackson, and the gang protesting on one side for Gore, and the Pro-Life, Pro-Bush activists on the other, with crowd-control officers dividing them. No TV cameras were allowed inside, only VIP-invitees, a handful of media, and us 50, reeking, tired, and famished scrubs.

Inside, we saw everyone from Ted Kennedy to Orrin Hatch. As the proceedings began, we noticed that arch-conservative Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC), who was one row in front of us, represented very old men with pride by slouching over and falling asleep with his chin resting against his chest. The lawyers for Bush and Gore, Theodore Olson and Laurence Tribe, barely had a chance to speak in consecutive sentences, as they were peppered repeatedly with specific, detailed, legalese questions by the various justices. Clarence Thomas, who detests oral arguments and has asked only two questions in his entire career as a Supreme Court justice, consistently rocked in his chair, rubbing his hand in exasperation over his forehead; he didn’t say a word.

It stands to reason that once inside, witnessing a little piece of history, we would be hypnotized in rapt attention, attune to every detail. But instead, we all of a sudden felt extraordinarily tired. I had had a combined three hours of sleep over the past two nights, getting no sleep the night before on those cold, miserable, damp sidewalks. I had worn several layers of clothing and had a blanket, but I might as well have had nothing at all, because I had been frozen to the bone.

So, anyway, I must have accidentally fallen asleep, because my head fell back, and slammed against the wall, making a terribly loud noise. I instantly awoke with several people looking at me. I managed to stay awake for the rest of the hearing. Outside, ready to go home, the three of us, miserably tired and hungry, actually began to avoid the media, as they searched like vultures for any scrap of inside information. However, a couple of blocks away from the fray, a woman with a notepad asked us if we had been inside. We affirmed, and after she asked us a few questions, I asked her what organization she was with. She said, "TIME magazine."

OK, so our exhaustion of media coverage had not been entirely depleted, but nevertheless we resumed our journey back towards the Union Station Metro.

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