June 28, 2012
On the last day of the Supreme Court’s term for this year, everybody in Washington DC knew that its ruling would be announced on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), as the national health care reform law is officially known.
So an hour before the Supreme Court released its 193-page decision, in what has become a ritual before important cases are resolved, the sidewalk in front of the court was packed with protesters, bystanders, Tea Partiers, community activists: a host of pro and anti Obamacare people. A circus-like atmosphere prevailed as belly dancers, a plastic Jesus statue, and costumed Revolutionary War soldiers flooded the sidewalks. It was almost impossible to walk through the densely packed crowd.
Republican Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann was the big draw for the conservative partisans, exciting the crowd and whipping Tea Party activists into a frenzy. Advocates supporting the law carried signs reading “Moving Forward > Supporting Our Care” and “Medicare For All.”
Sometime after 10am, reporters dashed out of the courthouse to awaiting TV cameras. Moments later CNN and Fox News misread the first pages of the decision to declare that the crucial Individual Mandate part of the Affordable Care Act was struck down. But the crowd in front of the Supreme Court found out quickly the law was, in fact, upheld. Very few people expected that the drama would play out as it did, that the mandate would stand and that Chief Justice John Roberts would side with the law in a landmark decision.
PHOTOGRAPHS by LUCIAN PERKINS / facingchange.org