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The Supreme Court sprint

By Katie Fallon

Even today in the age of the internet, the running of the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decisions from high court's press office to the on-air correspondent and producers waiting outside on the steps falls on the summer class of the broadcast interns. While almost everyone inside the Supreme Court buildings is wearing business attire, we, the interns, arrive in sensible, speedy running shoes, ready to spring the roughly 350 feet between the Supreme Court press office and the reporter stand-up positions on the steps of the court.

On Thursday, the bell signaling the Supreme Court was session, rang just before 10:00 a.m. The tense press room began to buzz as the first court case decision was released. The decision packets were handed to official staffers who are the only people allowed in the SCOTUS press room. The staffers then handed off the decisions to the eager interns waiting in the hall­--like the baton in a relay race. Upon receiving the decision from the producer, my co-intern Becky began to quickly power-walk down the corridor (running is not permitted inside the court), wanting desperately to be the first one to push open the doors and begin her sprint to the producers out front. The remaining interns and I waited anxiously in the hallway for the next decision to be released, while the justices read their statements from the bench in the room up above.

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The press room sprang into action, with producers frantically trying to get the next decision out to the interns. I inched my way to the front of the intern line, eager to jockey into position to get the best chance of being the first to deliver the decision. This proved to be a miscalculation, as the producer inside the press room ran past me and threw the decision at another intern, who accidentally dropped the precious package on the floor. I lunged to pick up the packet and sped to the exit to try to make up for lost time. The two interns in front of me looked determined as they flung open the door to get outside. I followed suit and proceeded to sprint in my business-casual dress around the building, down the stairs, and across the plaza.

Clutching my press pass in one hand and the decision in the other, I could hear the crowd outside start to cheer wildly, and I could hear the sound of photographers clicking away on their cameras. I almost tripped down the stairs, extending my hand to pass the decision off to the producer, incredibly winded from the run. Was it really just 350 feet? As I caught my breath, I overheard someone in the press area yell, "It's King v. Burwell," the case deciding the fate of Obamacare. I couldn't believe that I had just delivered the decision on such a critical Supreme Court case. I turned to run back inside the court in case there were any more decisions released, and as I walked back into the building, I could hear the roar of the crowd.

Katie Fallon is a CBS News summer intern in Washington, DC

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