It's particularly inconvenient considering that the case is most likely to affect states three hours behind the Eastern Time Zone. The court starts releasing opinions at 10 a.m. Eastern time on decision days, which translates to 7 a.m. local time in Arizona and on the West Coast.
The lack of information about opinion releases has worked against Paul Mitchell, one of the premier redistricting consultants in California. He has been part of this early-morning crowd all month. But Thursday, the next chance for a decision in Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, Mitchell will find himself hoping for the first time that the Court doesn't rule.
"I'll be at Disneyland with my daughter on Thursday," he said. "I don't want to be in line for Thunder Mountain and have a bunch of reporters calling me."
Mitchell and Pitzl said they expected a ruling sooner, especially because the court also will rule on even more controversial cases—ones involving same-sex marriage and the Affordable Care Act. The most high-profile cases generally are saved for last.
On the bright side, the repeated anticipation of a ruling has created a community of kindred spirits who get on Twitter and SCOTUSblog's live blog every morning to lament another day without a ruling, said Stephanie Grisham, spokeswoman for Arizona Republican House Speaker David Gowan.
If the Court rules in favor of the legislature, Grisham's boss and his fellow Republicans are expected to act quickly to make Arizona's maps more favorable for their party. Republican legislators already have inked a contract with a California-based demographic data firm to help them draw maps.
"It's been sort of fun because we're all waking up early" together, Grisham said.
The size of the community is evident on SCOTUSblog, which had 42,000 visitors at 10:12 a.m. Eastern Time on Monday, according to editor Amy Howe. Many of those visitors were likely awaiting other decisions, but those left disappointed afterward often bond in the comments section.
It also can be found on Twitter, where many of the tweets with a #SCOTUS hashtag are about the anticipation of a particular ruling, rather than the decisions themselves.
On Monday, the fifth day of early rising for a redistricting ruling, Grisham tweeted, "Waiting 4 #SCOTUS is like Christmas but instead of gifts I'll get calls, speculation, records requests & conspiracy theories."
Technology has made the wait for Supreme Court opinions both faster and more torturous, in a way. Rick Hasen, an election law professor at the University of California, Irvine who writes at ElectionLawBlog.org, recalled that he had to wait half an hour after the landmark Bush v. Gore decision was announced in 2000 to read the opinion. It was first available online on The Washington Post's website. Now, quick reports are immediately available on SCOTUSblog and Twitter, and opinions are posted to the Supreme Court's website minutes after they are announced.