How Much Does a Seat at the Supreme Court Cost?

How Much Does a Seat at the Supreme Court Cost?

Some of the people sitting with a front-row seat to history as the Supreme Court hears arguments regarding marriage equality this week may have paid as much as $6,000 for their spot.

Tickets to the Supreme Court are technically free, according to the Associated Press. However, some who wanted to avoid waiting in line or even camping out for days in Washington's wintery weather for a seat, were able to pay other people to wait in line for them.

For the more controversial cases, onlookers queue for tickets about a day in advance. For the hearings on Proposition 8, and the Defense of Marriage Act, some people were camped out a week in advance. Companies like are charging between $36-$50 per hour, making a five-day wait cost $6,000.

The courtroom only seats about 500, people, but seats are reserved mainly for court staff, journalists, guests, of the justices, and lawyers arguing for the case, as well as attorneys who are members of the Supreme Court bar. That leaves about 60 seats for the general public, and an additional 30 rotating seats to watch 3-5 minute segments of the arguments.