Monday, July 6, 2015

11 fun facts about the Supreme Court building

The Supreme Court was established in the late 18th century and initially met in New York City in the Merchants Exchange Building. Later, in 1790, it moved to Philadelphia’s Independence Hall. Next, the Court was moved to Washington D.C. in 1800, along with the federal government, but still did not have a building of its own. At that time it was housed inside the U.S. Capitol.

It wasn’t until the 1930s the Supreme Court finally received a building to call its own. Hard to believe the building is relatively new in comparison to many of the other structures in the area. Here are some other fun facts about the Supreme Court building:
1. In 1929 former President Taft, who was now Chief Justice, convinced Congress to allow construction of the Supreme Court Building. He never saw construction as he passed away before it was finished.

2. The building is Corinthian-style and is primarily made of various types of marble from both domestic and foreign sources.

There is a spiral staircase inside the Supreme Court, it's blocked off to visitors but you can peek in and look up.
3. The interior wood throughout the Supreme Court is made of American quartered white oak.

4. The cornerstone to what is now the Supreme Court building was laid on Oct. 13, 1932. 

5. The Supreme Court moved into its new home in 1935. It came under the budget authorized by Congress and $94,000 was saved.

6. Two large statues stand on either side of the court building – one is Contemplation of Justice, the other Authority of Law. 

7. The front door is bronze and depicts many different scenes of history, as law developed. Each of the doors weighs 6.5 tons each. 
One panel of one of the grand doors to the Supreme Court

8. The main corridor in the Supreme Court is known as the “Great Hall”. Here visitors are allowed to come inside the Court when it is not in session. 

You cannot take photos once inside the Court. The talk during the hours when Court is not in session is quite interesting!

9. There are busts representing all of the Chief Justices along the walls of the hall.
10. The Court chamber is 82 by 91 feet; its ceiling is 44 feet high.
11. The Supreme Court is a location that definitely sees lots of protests for various social and other legal issues. 

Photo of some activists taken in 2013. You can see in the photo the building was still undergoing some restoration.

Located directly behind the U.S. Capitol Building and to the side of the Library of Congress, The Supreme Court is very convenient to plan to see when visiting these other landmark buildings. It's also a relatively close walk to both the Orange and Red Metro lines.

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