It’s inspiring to see Americans lined up for something other than expensive electronics, but while people have been waiting outside the Supreme Court since Thursday, that doesn’t necessarily mean they have a stake in the debate over same-sex marriage. The New York Times reports that several of the 30 people waiting to hear oral arguments on gay marriage are just paid placeholders braving the cold D.C. nights for hefty paycheck, not a chance to witness history.
It’s unclear what percentage of the line is made up of campers for hire, but some who’ve been waiting the longest don’t seem particularly dedicated to the cause. Per the Times:
The second and third people in line on Saturday seemed indifferent about the cases and declined to give their names or say whether they were being paid to be there. One of them said it was his third time in line for a Supreme Court hearing, but he could not remember the other cases. He said he had been in line since Thursday; seat assignments are to be given out on Tuesday morning.
LineStanding.com, one of the companies that helps people hire a proxy, charges $50 per hour for Supreme Court and Congressional hearings. While it’s considerably less inspirational, the fact that the line formed five days before seats will become available does mean that someone is willing to pay around $6,000 to watch the proceedings without sleeping on the sidewalk.