Daily Rituals Outside The Supreme Court

When a decision by the Supreme Court is imminent, journalists descend on the building waiting to grab anyone coming out of the building.
When a decision by the Supreme Court is imminent, journalists descend on the building waiting to grab anyone coming out of the building.
Winers and losers alike can't wait to hit the microphones outside the court to express either joy or disappointment with the Court's rulings.
Winners and losers alike can’t wait to hit the microphones outside the court to express either joy or disappointment with the Court’s rulings.
For TV crews, juggling between the Supreme Court and Congress is as simple as crossing the street.
For TV crews, juggling between the Supreme Court and Congress is as simple as crossing the street.
In the interest of timely reporting, journalists deploy tactical desks with wifi connectivity around the Capitol grounds.
In the interest of timely reporting, journalists deploy tactical desks with wifi connectivity around the Capitol grounds.

It has to be one of the busiest sidewalks in the world.  Sandwiched between the US Supreme Court building and 1st Street NE, this small piece of DC real estate is a constant beehive of activity whenever the Supreme Court is in session.  Journalists with tons of expensive gear wait impatiently for litigants to come down the Court’s stairs either to complain or celebrate after the Court issues a decision.  If the issue being litigated is controversial enough, you will also see (and hear) advocates from each side of the issue trying to out-demonstrate each other with bullhorns, placards, and mannequins.  Real estate is at a premium, though, and it is usually a sight to behold to watch journalists, demonstrators, and tourists with cameras jockeying for position along the relatively short space in front of the Court.  Some journalists (as you can see in the photo) opt to set mobile offices on the Capitol’s grounds, busily relaying news items to major networks from their shaded suites.  I guess if you have to be at the office on any given day, this is about as good as it can get in DC.  Chaos and calm, or what otherwise passes as a normal day in Washington’s charged political climate.

You’re On, So You Better Have Something To Say

A French news crew was conducting a solitary news report during one of the coldest days in December in front of the Capitol Building in Washington, DC.
A French news crew conducts a solitary news report during one of the coldest days in December at the Washington, DC Mall.

A few days back I came across this scene at the National Mall by the Capitol Building and it got me thinking about that moment when the light comes on and it’s your time to say something, or do something for that matter.  What was significant for me was that this solitary crew was out there doing their job in the open and on a bitterly-cold day when most sane mortals wouldn’t be caught dead in such open spaces (so much for the glamour of journalism).  Even when no one was looking, the weather was crappy, and nothing of any consequence appeared to be happening around them, there they were getting the job done.  No posse, no trumpet section, no crowds, no adoring fans.  I guess none of that matters when you are passionate about what you do.