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Four days early, line forms at Supreme Court for gay marriage case

The Supreme Court in Washington, DC, November 6, 2013.

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

As early as Friday afternoon, people were lining up outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. to ensure they're in the court when the justices hear historic arguments over same-sex marriage -- arguments that won't happen until Tuesday.

It's not that unusual for people to line up early outside of the court ahead of a high-profile case. There are a limited number of seats in the court, and most are claimed on a first-come, first-served basis. Aside from sitting in the courtroom, there's no other way to hear oral arguments in real time -- the Supreme Court does not allow live audio or video feeds of its proceedings.

While lines are not that uncommon in front of the court, the crowd readying for the Obergefell v. Hodges arguments seemed to be forming especially early.

Given the strong interest in the case, the Supreme Court will release an audio recording of the oral arguments later in the day on Tuesday. Still, some transparency advocates say the court should do much more.

The Coalition for Court Transparency, which includes media, legal and pro-transparency groups, sent a letter earlier in the year to Chief Justice John Roberts, calling for live audio-visual coverage of the arguments.

"When decisions are made in cases that provoke strong emotions, transparency allows the public to be assured that the process was fair and that the institution is functioning properly," the letter said. "Simply put: televising the oral arguments will ultimately strengthen the public's perception of the Court by imbuing its result with greater legitimacy."