Justin Snow had never covered a Supreme Court case or even been inside the building until this week, when the justices heard arguments on two separate cases regarding same-sex marriage. Perfect timing, if a little overwhelming, for someone who has been with the gay magazine Metro Weekly for not even a year.
Electronic devices aren’t allowed in the courtroom, a particularly challenging rule for journalists who rely on tape recorders and (more and more often) their smartphones to take notes and, you know, report. Snow told FishbowlDC that was the hardest part in covering the hearings. “Selecting what I think are the key statements,” he said, “while feverishly taking notes and then working them into a story for the Web before transcripts or audio is released of the proceedings.”
The other hard part: “Because I’m not a lawyer, sometimes deciphering the legal jargon can be a challenge.”
Like WaPo’s Jonathan Capehart, Snow, who is also gay, gets his fair share of anti-gay tweets.
“No gay rights. No civil unions. No gay marriage. No gays in military,” a man named Tommy Moore tweeted at Snow in mid-March. “Old habits die hard,” Snow replied.
“Guess you are pro gay and don’t have any morals so I don’t see us having any further conversation,” said Moore. It ended with Snow suggesting Moore, who’s bio says he enjoys traveling, to visit Uganda. It’s illegal to be gay in Uganda.
Snow, however, told us he didn’t receive any anti-gay tweets during the hearings this week. He said gaydom didn’t color his coverage.
“I’m sure most other gay reporters would say the same,” he said. “We cover and interview people who aren’t necessarily pro-gay almost everyday, so it’s not much different when you’re sitting in the Supreme Court. That said, I had a few moments where I did pause to really take in what I was witnessing. Gay or not, it’s been two very historic days.”