I was shocked beyond belief when someone’s cell phone rang during the hearings before the United States Supreme Court. The justices were protected behind bullet-proof glass, to be sure, but how could a live cell phone have gotten past security?
And, now that I mention it, just where WAS security? I didn’t recall going through security to get into the courtroom where the Supreme Court had chosen to hold the Affordable Health Care Act (Obabacare) hearings. Historic hearings, at that. Three days of hearings, each day on a different aspect in the challenges to the act.
I’d missed the first day of hearings because of illness, I told my boss—my editor at the Anchorage newspaper where I work as a reporter covering the courts. (I coughed frequently, just to show him how sick I was.) Then I promised I’d make up for it. I had a plan to interview several local attorneys who had attended the hearings the previous day, and to make certain I was being fair, I planned interviews with both Republican and Democrat lawyers, asking each to give me a synopsis of the previous day’s arguments.
Then off I went to the Federal Building, which was behind a row of storefront cafes and shops. By following the crowd, I found the proper
auditorium courtroom. I’d never been in this particular courtroom before and didn’t know where the press box was until I spotted well-known reporter Sheila sitting in a special section at the right front.
There was one problem with the plush over-stuffed press box seats: they all leaned to the left so much I couldn’t stay in my own seat, but found myself leaning on my neighbor to the left. That neighbor, by the way, was my actual neighbor, who just happens to be a Democrat and used to be a reporter.
I kept surveying the spectators filling the courtroom, looking for the attorneys I wanted to interview. A few rows back, I heard a bunch of women chant, “Free Mr. Zimmerman! Free Mr. Zimmerman!” Good grief, I thought. Demonstrations in front of our Supreme Court justices and inside the courtroom, no less. What has this country come to? I had no idea what their cause was, though the name seemed familiar.
The hearing was supposed to start at 1 PM. All the justices were seated and apparently ready to hear arguments. A woman I assumed to be an intern began microphone checks by singing a couple lines, to a smattering of applause. Then each justice tested his/her own mic by doing the same, each to great applause. Chief Justice Roberts has a great singing voice, by the way. My neighbor and I began discussing which blonde was Sandra Day O’Connor because there were two blondes in black robes.
I was still puzzling about this while trying to keep from sliding left off my seat--some vague memory about Justice O’Connor retiring a few years prior--when the cell phone went off just as it was Justice Ginsburg’s turn for a mic test.
I looked behind me, aghast at the effrontery of someone leaving their cell phone turned on during arguments before the United States Supreme Court, even if they were in an Anchorage, Alaska, courtroom.
That’s when I realized it was my phone ringing. My land line, not my cell phone. I was at home, in bed, and sound asleep. The whole thing had been a dream--metaphors, current events, and all.
I woke up laughing, laughed through my shower, laughed while getting dressed, laughed as I uncovered Pablo’s cage—who immediately took offense because he thought I was laughing at him.
“No, Pablo, I’m not laughing at you” I said, “I’ve just been watching too much news lately.”
(This kind of stuff never stops.)
(This kind of stuff never stops.)