The original title for this post was The People’s Supreme Court? because it was triggered by an article in last week’s New York Times about the increased use by law firms of place-holders (paid stand-ins) for seats at the United States Supreme Court. According to the article, “place holding is common at Congressional hearings and is on the rise at the Supreme Court, where seats for last month’s arguments went for as much as $6,000.” An earlier piece, published around the time the same-sex marriage cases were argued, noted that the practice has its detractors, including former Congressman Barney Frank, whose proffered remedy is televised Supreme Court arguments.
I changed the title of this post after an incident on Friday. While returning to my law school midday I passed a scraggly group picketing in front of a neighboring Marriott Hotel. The signs said that the protesters were picketing because the Carpenters Union had a beef with the management. As my very general description suggestions, I did not look at the signs too closely. I was distracted because many of the protests were so drunk or drugged that they could not walk in a circle. A colleague with whom I was walking informed me that some labor unions now hire homeless people to walk picket lines for them. Surely the Union did not think that the picketing would be effective. I was astonished that actual Union members were shirking their membership responsibilities, but did I have a right to be appalled?
Hiring stand-ins for pay is a very American institution. Read More