For What It's Worth:

Self-important political analysis from an American college student

Game On

The hour is at hand for me to trek up Constitution Ave, from GWU to The United States Supreme Court. There’s a special feeling in the air tonight – that kind of feeling you get before a World Series baseball game or before a major presentation. In a way, I guess I’m just like those crazy fans that sit outside Fenway Park and sleep in the street to get tickets. Fenway Park holds a few more people than the 75-person gallery of the Supreme Court, but we are all brothers in craziness.


The remark has been made that this is the most important Supreme Court case since Roe V. Wade. That statement is absolutely correct in my mind. While other cases have matched it in tangible, immediate importance of the decision, few cases carry the legal weight of this case. There are few Supreme Court cases throughout history that strike at the very core of our Constitution, and this is one of them.


The other two branches have done their part: The Congress passed the bill and the President signed it into law. Starting in about 13 hours, the nine unelected members of our judicial hierarchy will have the final say on The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. If they strike it down, they overrule the other two branches.


The gravity of this case is clear, and that’s why I expect roughly 100 people to be ahead of me in line when I get there. The media will be parked out front ready to report, and I expect a number of Pro-Life Christians to be praying on the steps. Who knows, with all the tents around there is probably an occupier or two in the crowd.


I’ve got my books, notebook, and laptop to keep me occupied for the immediate future. I’ve packed bread, apples, and water to keep my hydrated, and have some faithful Beta Theta Pi brothers prepared to relieve me once or twice tomorrow. I’ve got layers of clothing packed for when the temperature drops (34 degrees tomorrow night according to!), and I’ve got my sleeping gear.


If this is the first post you are reading, I’ll let you know that this blog is not a political science one. I’m not going to be arguing my case on here – I’ll let the experts do that in the courtroom. I am simply blogging about the experience of camping outside The Supreme Court and witnessing history.


If I have WiFi on 1st Street, expect constant updates throughout the day. If not, I’ll post timelined posts tomorrow evening around dinnertime.


The Logistics

Well, as I reach the final planning stages and finalize the logistics of this expedition, I face a number of sobering realities. Most of the people who originally planned on attending have backed out, so this may be a solo project. That makes the logistics much more difficult when you factor in bathroom breaks, showering, food, and the like.

            I’ll spare you all the details of the “lavatorial” plans. But as far as food goes, I may not be able to move from the spot for a good 24 hours. That means I can’t leave for a sandwich or a slice of pizza. Since I am traveling alone, bringing a cooler is just about out of the question. So, it looks like I’ll be going on a Biblical fast of bread and water for the next 40 hours or so.

            I will be traveling lightly: My comforter, a pillow, a folding chair, my laptop, a camera, and all of my reading for the rest of the semester. I’m doing a nice monument walk up to the Supreme Court at 8:00 P.M. tonight. Expecting a chilly night tonight, but a sunny and warm day tomorrow. Tuesday morning, one of my friends will come hold my spot in line while I put all of my stuff back in my dorm room and change into Court-appropriate clothes.

            I am not sure if I will have internet capability. If so, expect tweets, facebook updates, and continued blog posts. If there is no internet, I will write a number of updates with time labels and will upload all of them upon my return Tuesday. From the looks of CSPAN, there are about 30 people in line so far. I am hoping most of them will attend tomorrow’s hearing, freeing up spaces for me to fit in on Tuesday.


Game on. 

News Hit: The Concord Monitor

I was featured in The Concord Monitor’s “5 Questions” article.

The link is here

March 25, 2012

CHRISTOPHER CRAWFORD, 20, has spent plenty of time camping in the woods, but this weekend will be the first time he’s set up on pavement.

Crawford, a Nashua native studying political science at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., will camp out in front of the U.S. Supreme Court starting today. He and about five of his Beta Theta Pi fraternity brothers want to be in the room Tuesday morning when the justices hear oral arguments about the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, frequently referred to as “Obamacare.”

A registered Republican, Crawford is no stranger to politics. He and another Nashua college student started the New Hampshire Conservative Future PAC to support young, first-time conservative candidates for local and state office.

He said they’re not camping to make a political statement – it’s more like “Black Friday” at Best Buy, he said. He said he’ll document the experience online, and you can find him on Twitter at @chriscrawfordnh.

Why are you doing this? Being in D.C., we’re kind of blessed with the opportunity to witness history, and this is one of the most historic Supreme Court decisions ever.

What do you expect? I called the (U.S.) marshal’s office, and they said you’re allowed to wait in line for as long as you want, but it’s all up to the people in line whether you can have one person holding a spot for five or six people. We’re not expecting the other people in line to be very gracious.

How will you prepare? We’re going to bring a cooler, lunches, stuff to eat and drink, probably a lot of homework. This is probably a good opportunity to do a bunch of reading. . . . Tuesday morning the doors will open at 9 . . . (but) we’re going to have all this stuff with us and they don’t even allow you to bring phones or cameras into the Supreme Court. . . . One at a time, we’ll go home, bring all of our stuff with us, change into our nice clothes so we look presentable to go into the court.

What is your biggest logistical concern? One of our worries actually is we’ll show up Sunday to camp out there’ll already be hundreds of people.

Do you have a strong feeling about the way the court should rule? Particularly on the individual mandate, I think it’s unconstitutional, and it would be dangerous for the Supreme Court to decide that the government can force people to buy something. And that’s something I’m passionate about.”

The Idea

One of the great blessings of attending college in Washington, D.C. is the opportunity to routinely witness history. When Glenn Beck held his historic “Restoring Honor” Rally, George Washington University students were among the people in attendance. When John Stewart and Stephen Colbert staged their response, even more students flooded onto The Mall. When Osama bin Laden was killed last May, the first students who rallied at the White House were my GWU classmates. On any given day, hundreds of interns from GWU are hard at work in the U.S. Capitol and The White House.

This week, The United States Supreme Court will hear one of its most important cases since Roe v. Wade in 1973. The Court will be hearing the case for The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, the landmark healthcare legislation that has defined Barack Obama’s presidency. On Tuesday, the Court will hear specific arguments regarding the most controversial part of the healthcare law, the government mandate that requires all U.S. citizens to buy health insurance. The consequences of the Supreme Court’s decision will be Constitutional as well as political, and will define the role that government can play in the lives of individuals.

As ambitious GW students who are always looking to stand out, a handful of my fraternity brothers and I will be doing all that we can to get into The Supreme Court for the oral arguments on Tuesday. We intend to be in the Supreme Court for this historic debate, even if it means camping outside from tonight onward.

As I joked with a Concord Monitor reporter, we are not camping out in protest. We are not ‘occupying’ anything; We won’t be holding signs or shouting at passersby; Our bi-partisan band of Beta Theta Pi brothers are simply on a mission to hear one of the most important Supreme Court debates in recent times. Rather than bring signs and megaphones, we will be bringing light meals, snacks, drinks, and some of our homework for the coming week.

There’s no guarantee that we will make it in for the arguments. With only 50 public seats available, there may be a large crowd at The Court before we arrive. One advantage that we have is that the oral argument in which we are interested does not take place until Day Two, so we may be able to hear the argument even if we are at the end of a daunting line to begin with.

Some people have asked me, “What if you wait all that time and don’t make it in? Will you be upset?” It would be less than ideal, I tell them, but I won’t be upset. The opportunity to visit the Supreme Court is a rare one, and the opportunity to camp outside of it is an opportunity reserved only for the craziest, most nerdy Americans of them all. This will be a unique, historic experience whether we reach the Supreme Court chamber or not.

It speaks to power and vision of the Constitution that a group of college students can hear the brightest minds in the country discuss its contents. The Supreme Court is one of the pillars on which our Democracy stands, and it is amazing that we may be able to witness it in person.