WASHINGTON – From East Capitol Street last night, approximately 30 people huddled together all bundled up, trying to forget about the cold weather. The lit Capitol just 1,000 feet in front of them as well as casual conversation kept motivation high for the 35 hours left.

Whether coming from Howard University across town or Rochester Hills, Mich., these enthusiasts are ready to sleep in tents and cardboard boxes until early tomorrow morning, when they hopefully receive a coveted ticket to the Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger hearings, where the University will defend its race-conscious admissions policies.

“This is going to be the affirmative action case of our generation,” said 18-year-old high school senior Jim Albertus, who drove down here with his dad from Michigan yesterday to wait in line.

Kenyon Coleman, a first-year law student and president of his class at Howard, said he hopes to represent his class inside the courtroom

“I want to be down at the ground level,” Coleman said, adding that he plans to sleep on an air mattress for the next 36 hours.

Barnard College senior Jenel Giles borrowed money from her dean to take the train down because her senior thesis focuses on why affirmative action policies began to die in the 1990s. The court put the hearings tomorrow just in time for her April 9 deadline.

“It’s a way to see the law in action and have my thesis come to life,” Giles said, adding that she is uncertain if she can get away for a few hours to freshen up in New Carrollton, Maryland, at her roommate’s house. “I don’t know if I can hold my place.”

A group of law students at Howard Law University began camping out Friday and started to draw up a list for whoever came down. They plan to give a list of 50 seats to the court marshal at 6 a.m. tomorrow when tickets will be given out. There is a “suicide pact” among people on the list that a representative from their group must be present for most of the time, allowing others to catch a few hours to sleep in a hotel room or warm up at Union Station six blocks away.

Discussion about the cases stays at a minimum, but most seemed to support the University’s policies, with the exception of four students from the Michigan Review. Nevertheless, there is a good amount of pessimism concerning how the court will rule. Giles said she thinks the country is becoming too conservative for the court to hand down anything but a ruling repealing Bakke v. University of California Regents, the 1978 case which said race could be used as one of many factors in admissions. She added that the death of affirmative action started with Preposition 209, which banned the use of race in California public universities in 1995, and continued with the Republican Party takeovers of Congress, and eventually the White House.

“They’re going to rule against Bollinger,” she said somewhat confidently. “It was just a matter of time.”

Whatever differences and feelings exist, almost all of the people here can agree on one thing. “It’s cold, wet, and miserable,” Adams said.

inside the courtroom. “I want to be down at the ground level,” Coleman said, adding that he plans to sleep on an air mattress for the next 36 hours.

A group of law students at Howard Law University began camping out Friday and started to draw up a list for whoever came down. They plan to give a list of 50 seats to the court marshal at 6 a.m. tomorrow when tickets will be given out. There is a “suicide pact” among people on the list that a representative from their group must be present for most of the time, allowing others to catch a few hours to sleep in a hotel room or warm up at Union Station six blocks away.

Discussion about the cases is minimum, but most seemed to support the University’s policies, except of four students from the Michigan Review.

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