supreme-court-2Located in Washington, DC, the Supreme Court Building is directly east of the U.S. Capitol Building and is just north of the Library of Congress’s Jefferson Building. Since it is the highest court of the land, it is often used as a symbol of the judicial branch of U.S. Government.

Since there was no dedicated space for them at first, the Supreme Court met in locations outside of the Nation’s capital. In its early years, the Court met in the Merchants Exchange Building in New York City. They also met in Philadelphia in 1790, when the capital moved there, and then finally moved to Washington in 1800 and met in the newly constructed U.S. Capitol Building. In 1929, former President and Chief Justice William Howard Taft worked to establish a permanent home for the Court; the cornerstone was laid three years later, in 1932, and the building completed in 1935. The public can attend sessions of the Court and can also visit the building, listen to lectures, and view other areas at certain times of the year.

The main entrance to the Supreme Court Building is on the west side that faces the U.S. Capitol Building. Sixteen marble columns are below the triangle-shaped pediment, which contains a group of figures above the motto "Equal Justice Under Law.” Two marble statues by sculptor James Earle Fraser are on either side of the main entrance; on the left is a seated female figure called the “Contemplation of Justice,” and on the right is a seated male figure called the “Guardian or Authority of Law.”

Supreme Court Building facts and figures:

  • The foundation is 385 feet long and 304 feet wide.
  • The bronze doors at the entrance weigh 6.5 tons, or 13,000 pounds, each.
  • The interior Great Hall is 91 feet long, 82 feet wide, and has a 44-foot high ceiling.
  • The marble used in the building comes from Alabama, Georgia, Vermont, and also from Italy and Spain.
  • The fifth floor has a basketball court which is sometimes referred to as “the highest court in the land.”

To learn more, see the Supreme Court site.