Rich Galen

I am in Manhattan because tonight is the first night of Passover and I will be at my aunt and uncle's house for the first night's Seder.

They live in Suffolk County which is on the eastern end of Long Island. From Old Town Alexandria to Suffolk County on a week night, with normal rush hour traffic is about a six hour trip.

With all the children who grew up on Long Island and now live in Manhattan or Brooklyn trying to make their way to their parents' house tonight, the trip could easily take over eight hours.

The Long Island expressway, on the first night of Passover, is God's way of reminding Jews about the whole 40 years in the desert after they left Egypt thing.

The Long Island Expressway is the ultimate equalizer. Doesn't matter how big your car or how much you make, you have to crawl along like everyone else.

Speaking of which, someone decided that it was a good story to write about the people who are paid to wait in line (or, as we say in New York, "wait on line") so that rich people can get a seat.

The issue at hand is the oral arguments in the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

There are only 50 seats available for the public during the arguments and, for reasons that are alien to me, 50 people want to go and be there.

Line holders are a long-time Washington tradition.

For major committee hearings, lobbying shops routinely send junior staffers (second choice) or interns (first choice) to stand in the hallway outside the applicable committee hearing room to hold a place so that when the hearing begins and actual lobbyist can take his or her seat, catch the eye of a Congress member or Senator, then report to their client that the promised contact was made.

Standing on the marble floor of the Capitol or a warm House or Senate building is not the same thing, apparently, as hiring a line holder to stand or sit in the cold weather of a Globally-warmed Washington DC this past weekend where the high temperature didn't make it out of this mid-40's.

According to the New York Times, rich lobbyists with slicked back hair, Presidential cufflinks holding together monogrammed cuffs on custom tailored shirts pay up to $50 per hour to companies that specialize in line holders.

This, apparently, is a bad thing.

The Times' article quotes both former Congressman Barney Frank and current Senator Claire McCaskill talking about how this is just…just so unfair.

According to the Times piece McCaskill,

"Proposed banning the line-standing services for Congressional hearings, saying that lobbyists or wealthy people should have to stand in line like everyone else."

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at