Decius and I where lucky enough to be able to attend the last day of witness testimony for the Samuel Alito Confirmation Hearing. Thanks to Tim Ball and John Flym, we were able to acquire a pass to witness part of an important historic event.
As the story goes, Professor Flym was having a problem with his laptop causing him to be unable to file his statement in time to give testimony. Tim's boss told him to do anything necessary to solve his problem. In the process, due mostly to chance and good timing, "anything necessary" wound up involving Tom and I. We were not able to completely fix John's problem the first night, but we were able to get him in a position where he could get his work done. The next day we returned to completely fix the problem, and John gave us a witness pass he had.
Having watched what must amount to several solid months of C-SPAN, being on the other side of the cameras was interesting. The hearing room in the Hart building is like being in a pressure chamber, more so than any court I've been in. I can only imagine the stress felt by those testifying. Tim was busy the entire day, so Tom and I took shifts attending the hearings. I was present during Flym's testimony, as well as that of Ronald S. Sullivan Jr., Amanda Frost, Reginald M. Turner, Jr., Theodore M. Shaw, among others, and the closing of the hearings. Tom will probably chime in with his take on the hearings, but I remember him being very happy about being there for the testimony of Fred Grey, who defended Rosa Parks.
Later at Shmoocon, there was some humorous discussion about if the badge qualified as a ticket to the "Nerd SuperBowl" or the "Nerd World Series". At the time, I was strongly on the side of "Nerd SuperBowl", but lacking a well worded concise argument for why. Given some time to think about it, its clear that "Nerd SuperBowl" does fit best. The "Nerd World Series" would better fit a string of WTO and G8 summits, while the Security Council would be the "Nerd World Cup". Its good to be a nerd.
Anyway, joking aside, this was a really cool experience. Both Tom and I spend much time thinking about legal problems. It was a honor to be present in person for even the small portion of proceedings we were. On the linked page, I included a few pictures and screen captures from C-SPAN where I can be spotted. I was unable to find any screen shots where Tom was present. Since he knows where he was sitting and at what time, maybe he will have better luck.
Rattle and Decius at Alito Confirmation Hearing