Later Tuesday morning, the U.S. Supreme Court begins hearing two days of arguments about the future of same-sex marriage in America.
Members of the public will be allowed to sit in on arguments, but it is first come, first served. For days, people -- including one Minnesota native -- have been lining up on Capitol Hill, sleeping on the pavement to stake out a space near the front of the line.
Jessica Skrebes has been camped out since 10 a.m. Saturday near the northeast corner of First and East Capitol streets in Washington, D.C.
Skrebes is from Minneapolis and has been living in .D.C for the past two years. She works for the Department of Education but took time off from work so she could see the arguments.
By Monday afternoon she had already been staking out her space for more than 50 hours.
She's here because the issue is important to her.
"I am in a relationship and one day I'd like to be able to marry her," Skrebes said.
What is striking is that Skrebes came alone.
"It's not easy to convince anyone that they should to come hang out in front of the Supreme Court when the reward is that you get to hear a court case," Skrebes said.
“I believe that our Constitution demands equality and I think that (same-sex marriage) is coming.”Jessica Skrebes
But spend a lot of time on the sidewalk and pretty soon, one might start bonding with the strangers standing nearby. Friends come in handy, because on Sunday evening, a big storm rolled in and everyone pitched in to help each other out.
"Last night at about 7 p.m., I think the rain started and I believe 'wintery mix' is the technical term," Skrebes said.
The Supreme Court police enforce a strict no-camping rule. But this is the Supreme Court and there's a lot of hair splitting about the precise definition of "camping."
Skrebes presents a giant blue ball that some of her new friends are occupying.
"It's not a tent, it is, I believe, comprised of a chair and I think there are umbrellas behind it and the tarp going over it," Skrebes said. "And I believe there is a beach chair doubling as an ottoman to keep the people underneath completely dry."
As for Skrebes, well, she grew up camping in the Minnesota woods. She has a sleeping bag, a waterproof blanket, a thick pad and a camping chair. The setup worked pretty well until the middle of the night.
"The blanket had fallen off and so it was just me and my sleeping bag. Though I was still quite warm, the sleeping bag had about an inch of snow on it," Skrebes said.
The bag soaked through. While Skrebes' new friends held her space in line, she went home and put her sleeping bag and those of several of her friends' in the dryer for an hour.
Overall, Skrebes said camping in the woods is better than the sidewalk but that the cause is worthwhile.
"I believe that our Constitution demands equality and I think that (same-sex marriage) is coming, and I think that it's our civil rights issue," Skrebes said.
She says some of her new friends suggest they camp again in June when the Supreme Court is likely to issue its decision on these cases.
Of course, once the weather improves, they'll probably have a lot more competition for sidewalk space.