The voices inside the Supreme Court building were not nearly as loud _ or as colorful _ as those along the sidewalks facing its heavy bronze doors.
And how could they be? The court chamber is a model of order and decorum. Outside, a different kind of democracy was in action on Monday.
Demonstrators competed for the attention of national news media, springtime tourists and curious passers-by as the high court heard arguments over the national health care law. Those who chanted, waved signs, played music or even argued with each other enjoyed a bright spring day to sound off.
Tea party activists like Linda Dorr of Laguna Beach, Calif., held aloft signs protesting "Obamacare" and calling it "UnAmerican." On the other side of the debate, Bette Grey of Berwick, Pa., pointed to a sign lampooning House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, a healthcare law opponent.
Pastor Mark Morrow of Williamsburg, Va., read from a Bible, one of those taking a more prayerful approach to registering an opinion. Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum used the camera-ready moment to bring attention to his faltering campaign.
And there's more to come: The court is set to hear arguments for another two days.