U.S. Supreme Court, Washington D.C.

4.5 out of 5 stars 38 Reviews

1 First Street NE (202) 479-3000

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  • U.S. Supreme Court
    by Ewingjr98
  • U.S. Supreme Court
    by Turska
  • One of the two marble spiral staircases
    One of the two marble spiral staircases
    by Jefie
  • Jefie's Profile Photo

    ... And Justice For All!

    by Jefie Updated Oct 2, 2014

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    The US Supreme Court building was completed in 1935. The Neoclassical-style building sits behind the Capitol and was designed by American architect Cass Gilbert, who unfortunately died before the building was completed, with the idea of providing the United States with a Temple of Justice. On weekdays, visitors are welcome to tour around the building's Great Hall, one the architectural highlights being the marble spiral staircases. There are no guided tours offered, but there is plenty of information available at the Visitor's Desk and in the different exhibitions. Visitors also have access to the courtroom: when the court is in session, visitors can attend on a first-come, first-served basis (the court is in session Monday to Wednesday, from October to April). When the court is not in session, visitors can still see the courtroom by attending one of the 30-minute lectures offered daily. Unfortunately, they were cleaning-up the courtroom at the time of our visit so we didn't get to see it, but I did enjoy walking around the Great Hall and learning about some of the rulings that forever changed the course of US history (usually for the best!).

    US Supreme Court building on Capitol Hill One of the two marble spiral staircases
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    As seen on news and law tv-series

    by Turska Written Apr 20, 2014

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    Even though it was much longer walk from White house than it looked from the map, and we had not eaten anything, and were in little bit hurry, I wanted to go and see the place.
    I don´t look some many movies and not so many "law and order" -type of tv-series, but at least I had seen it on the news, when something big has been nappening and told in Finnish news also.
    We didn´t even have time to walk right next to it, but anyway I wanted to see it. It is interesting looking building. And big again. But in different way than the sky scrapers in New York. Much nicer looking, if you ask me.
    I´m not sure if they would let you in. If we would have had more time, I would have found outl

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    US Supreme Court Building

    by antistar Written Jun 9, 2013

    The highest court in the land. The Supreme Court is not just concerned with case law. Unlike many other high courts, the Supreme Court rules on the Constitution, the fundamental basis of US law. It means it gets to define the law in broad cases, like abortion and gay marriage, areas typically left to politicians in other countries.

    The Supreme Court building is an austere neoclassical design with a grand portico in keeping with the US Capitol Building it sits behind. It used to be incorporated into the US Capitol Building, but moved to its own building in 1935.

    US Supreme Court Building, Washington D.C.

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    The supreme judicial authority of our land

    by etfromnc Updated Jan 18, 2013

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    As you approach the U.S Supreme Court Building, look up. You will see near the top of the building a row of relief sculptures of the great law givers of our world's history. Each one of them is generally facing toward the one in the middle who is facing forward. This one in the center is Moses and he is holding the Ten Commandments! Today, the body which meets in this building and has ultimate jurisdiction over the most momentous cases before our judicial system has decided that it is against the law to display those same Ten Commandments in any government-owned location but the people who founded this country and made it so great appropriately regarded the Ten Commandments as the centerpiece of the entire legal system of this nation.
    In response to the "comment" of VT member, MrWeisberg, who is apparently an American liberal who refuses to accept the Judeo-Christian heritage and who also castigated me for mis-identifying the man in the center, the following is a verbatim quote from http://www.nps.gov/history/history/online_books/butowsky2/constitution9.htm:
    On the east front of the building is a sculpture group by Herman A. McNeil and the marble figures represent great lawgivers, Moses, Confucius, and Solon, flanked by symbolic groups representing Means of Enforcing the Law, Tempering Justice with Mercy, Carrying on of Civilization and Settlement of Disputes Between States. The Architrave bears the legend: "Justice the Guardian of Liberty."
    As you enter the Supreme Court courtroom, the huge oak doors through which you enter also have the Ten Commandments engraved on the lower portion of each door.
    As you sit inside the courtroom, you can see on the wall, right above where the Supreme Court justices sit, a display of the Ten Commandments.

    Moses & the 10 Commandments as law The Supreme Court Hearing Room Moses and the Ten Commandments
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  • lmkluque's Profile Photo

    Supreme Court of the United States of America

    by lmkluque Updated Jan 27, 2012

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    A federal court; the highest body in the Judicial Branch. The Supreme Court is composed of a chief justice and eight associate justices, all of whom are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. They serve on the Court as long as they choose, subject only to impeachment.

    Each state also has a Supreme Court; which are Courts of Appeals, primarily hearing cases that have already been tried. The Federal Supreme Court ('THE' Supreme Court) has the final word on interpretation of all laws and of the Constitution. Supreme Court decisions have a significant impact on public policy, and are often extremely controversial.

    The Highest Court in the Land
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    United States Supreme Court

    by goingsolo Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The Supreme Court is "the highest law of the land" in the United States. The Courts are the branch of government which interpret the laws passed by by both houses of Congress and signed into law by the President and determine whether the laws are valid or invalid. The high Court consists of 9 Justices, who hear only those cases which are selected by the Court as presenting an issue that the lower courts are divided upon, or one that the Court deems of great Constitutional importance. Very few cases, of those sent to this Court are actually heard by the Court. The building itself is typical DC architecture, but the courtroom is the most solemn and imposing in the nation.

    United States Supreme Court

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  • rexvaughan's Profile Photo

    Equal Justice Under Law

    by rexvaughan Written Feb 24, 2010

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    The US Supreme Court is an awesome institution and, like many great things, has a simple basis. Justices are appointed by the President but must be confirmed by the Senate. Qualifications for this high office: none. In the constitution, there is no age limit, no citizenship requirement, no professional or educational requirement. Amazing to me. Also, once appointed the Justice may serve for life, the only limitation on the time of service is the vague “during good behavior,” which is not defined.
    I was amazed to learn that prior to 1935, the court had sat in various locations with no permanent home. The current building was completed that year after former President William Howard Taft persuaded Congress to authorize construction of a permanent home.
    The building seems older I think because it is of classic Corinthian style which harmonizes it with nearby Congressional buildings. It has some lovely and interesting features, not the least of which is the inscription on the front façade of the motto: “Equal Justice Under Law” and the rear façade’s “Justice, the Guardian of Liberty.” The front steps are bracketed by two impressive statues, a femJusale figure, “Contemplation of Justice,” on the left and a male figure, “Authority of Law,” on the right. Inside are a number of nice displays and statues and twin 5 story cantilevered spiral staircases.
    I did not know that the court, while in session, is open to the public. At these times there are two lines for the public. One line allows seating on a first come, first served basis and is limited to about 150 people. The other line is called the “3 minute line” and allows visitors to be seated on the back row for 3 minutes. While this limits public access, it does permit the public to see its highest court at work. When the court is not in session, there are lectures on the court, its history and its workings in the courtroom. These are every hour on the half hour and last about 30 minutes. Ours was well worth it. Of course, admission is free.

    First female Justice, Sandra Day O'Connor West portico

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  • Ewingjr98's Profile Photo

    United States Supreme Court building

    by Ewingjr98 Written Nov 2, 2008

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    The Supreme Court did not get a permanent home in Washington DC until 1935. It had been housed in the New York Merchant's Exchange Building, Philadelphia's Independence Hall, the basement of the Capitol building, the Old Supreme Court Chamber in the Capitol, and the Old Senate Chamber upstairs in the Capitol.

    The Supreme Court building faces the Capitol and is home to the offices of the nine US Supreme Court Justices, as well as the court itself. The facade says "Equal Justice Under Law"In front of the building are two small reflecting pools, sculptures of "Contemplation of Justice" and "Authority of Law" and two flagpoles.

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    A peek into the court

    by Faiza-Ifrah Written Sep 18, 2008

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    In this formidable Greek style temple, the nine Supreme Court Justices make final their interpretations of the Constitution in the laws of the land.

    When we visited the Building there was a silent demonstration taking place outside (see picture # 4).

    We climbed the steps and entered the hall after a checking of our body and bags. The lines were long, but bearable. The Hall had, along its two walls, sculptures of all its Chief Justices, who had served the Court. We observed a few courts and made an exit.

    Sculpture of a former Chief Justice A court Supreme Court Building A protest demonstration
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    Greek Style Splendor

    by machomikemd Written Aug 15, 2007

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    This neoclassical building looks far older than it really is. The Supreme Court met in odd rooms in the Capitol (you'll see one if you tour the Capitol) until the early '30s, when this structure was completed. Tours start at 9am when the court is not in session. After the usual security checks, a set number of visitors will be ushered into the actual court chambers. A guide will discuss the workings of the court, plus the symbolism of the sculptures and friezes above. The decorations are of lawgivers throughout time: Confucious, Hammurabi, Mohammed, and Moses, among others.

    Downstairs there are exhibits, a short film, and portraits of past justices. Be sure to take a gander before the court opens, or afterwards at the sculptured doors at the entrance. Each door is bronze, weighs 6.5 TONS, and is decorated with famous law scenes. When the court is open for sessions or tours, these giant works of art slide into pockets in the sides and are not visible. Pamphlets describing the court building and workings are given out free of charge. The closest Metro stop is Capitol South.

    In this formidable Greek-style temple, the nine Supreme Court Justices make final their interpretations of the Constitution and the laws of the land. In addition to viewing the building, you can see a film, hear a lecture or, if you are exceptionally lucky, sit in on arguments when the Court is in session. Choose a three-minute quick view or come for an all-day visit, but be in line by 8:30a for passes. Check the Washington Post for descriptions of current cases and go on Mondays to hear the decisions the court hands down. Admission is free.

    The building is open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. It is closed Saturdays, Sundays, and federal holidays.

    Like a mini Parthenon Chief Roberts Panoramic View
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  • Tom_Fields's Profile Photo

    US Supreme Court building

    by Tom_Fields Written Aug 26, 2006

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    Cass Gilbert designed this imposing marble building, which was built in 1935. Public tours are available, although I visited on a weekend and there was nothing going on.

    On the doors is a giant bronze frieze, depicting the famous law-givers of history. In front of the building are statues representing the Contemplation of Justice and the Guardian of the Law.

    The US Supreme Court building The huge marble columns The doors Another view of the Supreme Court building
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  • US Supreme Court

    by charrie Written Jul 10, 2006

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    Of course, like many places we wanted to visit on this particular day, it was closed. The building is open Mon-Fri 9-4:30 and closed on Federal holidays, inclement weather and occasionally for cleaning. It's incredibly beautiful on the outside, though.

    The US Supreme Court
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    U.S. Supreme Court

    by b1bob Updated Jun 27, 2006

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    Supreme Court of the United States is highest court in the land or the court of last resort. It's nine justices Roberts (chief), Stevens, Scalia, Kennedy, Souter (pronounced SEW-ter), Thomas, Ginsberg, Breyer, and Alito are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate for a lifetime appointment assuming "good behaviour". The Supreme Court only hears cases that have real Constitutional importance. Because of that, on any given day, you will find protesters for this cause or that picketing in front of the court building. The interesting thing is, the words Equal Justice Under Law is engraved above the main door. This phrase came from Cass Gilbert, the architect who designed and built the court building. Construction cost $9 million and that one third of this amount was used for the marble. The columns were made of Italian marble brought from Montarrenti. Congress approved the building in 1929 and that it was finished in 1935.

    U.S. Supreme Court
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  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo

    Go East!

    by matcrazy1 Written Jan 5, 2006

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    Although I had seen the model of the United States Supreme Court building I made quite common mistake of many visitors. I didn't go East to see eastern front of the building. Instead I took a break, sat on a bench in the court grounds and took a picture of pretty grass-like plants.

    The main, rectangular and longitudinal court edifice built in classical style has two facades the western and eastern. Go East along long court wall to see the eastern facade.

    URSZULA (matcrazy0) AND THE U.S. SUPREME COURT MODEL OF U.S. SUPREME COURT BUILDING GO EAST ALONG THIS WALL! PLANTS WEST FRONT OF THE U.S. CAPITOL BUILDING
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    Power of constitution and judicial review

    by matcrazy1 Updated Jan 5, 2006

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    The part of the United States Supreme Court building which is open for visitors reminds a picture and sculpture gallery. On the ground floor there is a small museum or better to say exposition on history of the Court, its heroes and architecture of the building.

    Its most dignified part is dedicated to John Marshall, the fourth Chief Justice of the United States for over three decades (1801 - 1835). I saw his seated statue and I got to know that he lived in Richmond, Virginia, the city of many famous Americans I had visited a few days earlier and liked a lot. His "old gold" pocket watch made in England was displayed among other his belongings.

    I also got to know that he was the principal founder of American constitutional law and the power of judicial review. In a series of historic decisions, he established the judiciary as an independent and influential branch of the government equal to Congress and the Presidency. Perhaps the most significant of these cases was that of Marbury v. Madison, in which the principle of judicial review was stated by Marshall: "A legislative act contrary to the Constitution is not law."
    During Marshall's times the most permanent home for the Supreme Court was the Capitol building. Wasn't it a too-cozy arrangement for a government that prided itself on separation of powers?

    JOHN MARSHALL STATUE EXPOSITION DEDICATED TO JOHN MARSHALL 1 JOHN MARSHALL'S OLD GOLD POCKET WATCH EXPOSITION DEDICATED TO JOHN MARSHALL 2 EXPOSITION DEDICATED TO JOHN MARSHALL 3
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