Surprisingly the United States Supreme Court was not provided with its own building until 1935 that was during first 146 years of its existence. A pernament home for the Court was designed by Cass Gilbert (he also designed Minnesota and West Virginia state capitols) in a classical Corinthian style which reflects the optimistic American sense that the nation was the heir of Greek democracy, Roman law and Renaissance humanism.
Haha, add here Poland, please, which drew up and adopted Europe's first modern codified national constitution (Polish Constitution of May 3, 1791) as well as the second oldest constitution in the world just after the Constitution of the United States from 1787 (ratified in 1789). Hmm... ironically, Gilbert's friendship with Mussolini helped him obtain the marble used for the interior columns.
I looked up at the architrave above the 16 marble columns (in two rows) at the front entrance and thought about this Polish constitution and certainly numerous ancient Greek temples I had already visited including the most famous Parthenon in Athens, Greece. They all had 8 columns in front.
There is the famous and proud phrase "EQUAL JUSTICE UNDER LAW" inscribed below the pediment on the architrave (main beam). These four words did not occur in any significant government document or court ruling prior to the completion of the Supreme Court building in 1935. The pediment sculptures of Liberty seated in a throne and attended by figures who represent Order and Authority were executed by Herman A. MacNeil.
Surely I had to take a few pictures of Urszula, my wife with the Supreme Court building in the background (guess why), both in the oval plaza and on the famous main steps which are flanked by white marble seated figures. There is a female figure, "Contemplation of Justice" on the left and a male figure, "Guardian" or "Authority of Law" on the right.
Both large statues were sculptured by James Earle Fraser (1876 - 1953), an American sculptor, born in Winona, Minnesota. I saw National Archives Building with pediment sculptured by Fraser two days earlier and I saw John Ericcson Memorial (details in my Off The Beaten Path tip Monument to Swedish-American inventor) by him two days later. His sculptures are not my favourite works of art but allegoric figures and items used in his works express something.
Some two weeks later I saw his most known, impressive and famous sculpture "End of the Trail" in National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. I've got to know that nickels (US 5 cents coins), so called Buffalo nickels produced in 1913–1938 had a profile of buffalo and Indian (opss.. they say "Native American" now) head designed just by Fraser.
The main entrance to the Supreme Court Building is on the west side, facing the eastern Capitol grounds and the United States Capitol building. A few low steps led me to the 77-meter-wide (252 feet) oval plaza with fountains, flagpoles and benches in front of the building. The steps are flanked by a pair of marble candelabra. Carved panels on their square bases depict Justice with sword and scales and the Three Fates, weaving the thread of life.
It was nothing strange. Lady Justice (or the Goddess of Justice) is a personification of the legal system. She is frequently depicted as a bare-breasted woman carrying a sword and scales, and sometimes wearing a blindfold. The image is frequently used to adorn courthouses and courtrooms.
The Three Fates (or Moirae: Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos) in Greek mythology were the personifications of destiny.
As an institution, this is one of the Fundamental structures of a functioning republic-furthermore the building is impressive, but more impressive were the school tours where the children were learning the concepts of democratic society. While I would not say that democracy is perfect, nor even that America is a perfect example of democracy, I think that taking school children to the capitol buildings and explaining what they are and what they do is the Best example I have seen of supporting and strengthening democracy. Explaining to school children how it should work is vital to preserve and enhance the system. It migfht even encourage them to vote when they get older.
Supreme Court is the highest tribunal in the United States and the court's rulings are final.
It's the Supreme Court's chief justice & 8 associate justices responsibilities to decide whether actions of Congress, President, the states and lower courts are in accord with the Constitution.
Starting from first Monday in October through late April, Mon-Wed, 10am-noon, we can see a case being argued. From mid May to late June, we can attend brief sessions at 10am on Monday, when the justices release orders and opinions.
When the Court is not in session, you can tour the building & attend a free lecture (every hour on the half-hour from 9:30am to 3:30pm) in the courtroom about Court procedure & the building's architecture.
"As justice in America may be divided between being fair and being righteous, let those two states of being become one virtue as this country is judged by itself, for itself"- HotspotJ
The right to be let alone is indeed the beginning of all freedom. -
Supreme Court Justice DW Orville
If there's a major court decision to be made in the US, it will be done here, at the Supreme Court. When court is not in session, you can tour the building, but a even a walk by the entrance is awe-inspiring.
The United States Supreme Court is the highest court in the country.The Supreme Court building is quite new compared to other symbols of American democracy. Completed in 1935, (145 years after the Supreme Court first met) this building is where the nine black-robed Supreme Court justices interpret our nation's laws. This building is an impressive sight with its 16 white Vermont marble columns that stand outside the front entrance. Above the columns is written the famous phrase "Equal Justice Under Law"
If the justices decide a law violates the U.S. Constitution, they have the power to reject that law. These justices hear, on average, 500 cases a year. About 500,000 visitors tour the Supreme Court building each year.
The Supreme Court building resembles a Greek temple. The bronze entrance doors are oversized and weighs over 13 tons. Its majestic look attracts not only visitors. Each year, the building is the site of many demonstrations where people gather to protest laws they think unfair.
Located ust a few steps away from the Capitol, makes it easy to see and to visit.
Nerd that I am, I was very excited about going to see the Supreme Court. I find it facinating that in many ways this body of 9 people has more power over daily life in the US than any other group of individuals. You can take free guided tours of the Supreme Court Building, check out cool exhibits that explain how the judicial system works, and even hear oral arguments when the court is in session (Oct - April.). The building iteself is very beautiful and contains sculpture, statutes, and friezes depicting Justice, Liberty, and Equality. Cool.
The Constitution didn’t explain the exact powers and privileges of the Supreme
Court . Therefore it was left to Congress and to the Justices of the Court through their decisions to develop the Federal Judiciary and a body of Federal law. The establishment of a Federal Judiciary was a high priority for the new government, and the first bill introduced in the United States Senate became the Judiciary Act of 1789. The Supreme Court, the country’s’ highest judicial tribunal, was to sit in the Nation’s Capital, and was initially composed of a Chief Justice and five Associate Justices.
Surprisingly, despite its role as a coequal branch of government, the Supreme Court was not provided with a building of its own until 1935, the 146th year of its existence. Up till that time it moved from site to site.
Finally in 1929, Chief Justice William Howard Taft, the former president, persuaded Congress to end this situation and authorized the construction of a permanent home for the Court. The construction, begun in 1932 and was complete three years later. A classical Corinthian architectural style was selected because it best harmonized with nearby congressional buildings. The general dimensions of the foundation are 385 feet from east to west, (front to back) and 304 feet from north to south. At its greatest height, the building rises four stories
above the terrace or ground floor.
The main entrance to the Supreme Court Building is on the west side, facing the
United States Capitol. A few low steps lead up to the 252-foot-wide oval plaza in front of
the building. Flanking these steps is a pair of marble candelabra with carved panels
on their square bases depicting: Justice, holding sword and scales, and The Three Fates, weaving the thread of life. On either side of the plaza are fountains, flagpoles, and benches.
The bronze flagpole bases are crested with symbolic designs of the scales and sword,
the book, the mask and torch, the pen and mace, and the four elements: air, earth, fire, and water.
Here is the key to the judicial branch of the United States government. This building is found across from the Capitol building. Look for the inscription "Equal Justice Under Law" on the pediment to identify this building. Inside this neoclassical building is the chamber of the nation's highest court. As you enter, just imagine the historic decisions that have taken place here. Notice that the chairs for the justices vary in height. They are actually fitted to the specifications for whomever sits there. some informative tours are given inside the chamber.
The U.S. Supreme Court did not have a home of its own for about 150 years. Thanks to the effort of William Taft, who was the President of the U.S. then the Chief Justice, in 1929 the Congress finally authorized the construction of the current building, as seen in photo, and it was completed in 1935. On top of this Corinthian-style architecture engraved "EQUAL JUSTICE UNDER LAW". Now that's a tall order.
The photo shows U.S. Supreme Court Chamber. The 9 chairs shown in the photo seat the 9 justices who are the interpreters of the Constitution and the final artiters of the law. If I remember correctly, the Supreme Court justice is a life-term position.
The room is smaller than it seems on TV. Certain time of the year the court room is open to the public, and visitors are invited to attend the oral arguments on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The US Supreme Court building is the home of the highest court in the US. The Supreme Court building opened in 1935. Before this, the Court shared the Capitol with Congress.
The building contains some amazing statues and sculptures, and the bronze doors at the entrance are also a highlight. The 16 columns on the outside are made of marble, and there are busts of each former Chief Justice on marble pedastals inside. There is much more to see in this great building.
On Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays from October to April, visitors can sit in on oral arguments. This is on a first-come first-served basis.
Hours are 9 AM - 4:30 PM Monday through Friday, excluding federal holidays.
Located at One First Street NE, the Supreme Court of the United States offers Public Lectures conducted in the courtroom every hour on the half hour between 9:30 am and 3:30 pm Monday through Friday, except when the court is in session.
The Court consists of the Chief Justice of the United States and eight Associate Justices.