Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Touring inside the Supreme Court

Over the summer I posted some fun facts about the Supreme Court building, and in my post, I mentioned I would like to go inside the building to see inside the highest court in the nation. About two weeks ago I got my chance being we were downtown on a weekday (the court is closed to visitors on weekends and federal holidays).

Entering the building was pretty straightforward, we went through a security scan, which is standard in federal buildings. Once inside, tours are self-guided. There are a number of exhibits about the building, the court's history and the justices. You can explore the ground floor and a part of the first floor.

Supreme Court hallway
Ground floor hallway in the Supreme Court

John Marshall statue at the Supreme Court
Statue of John Marshall can be viewed on the Supreme Court's ground floor

Justice O'Connor gavel on display at the Supreme Court
Gavel belonging to Judge O'Connor when she was on the Arizona court

I didn't realize there was so much to see on the ground floor of the court! The interior itself is gorgeous to look at, very ornate. I love architecture and this building is a beauty. After viewing the exhibits, we did take the stairs to the second floor and took a quick peek into a courtroom and the hallways. 

Courtroom located at the US Supreme Court
Docent was giving a lecture in the courtroom
Supreme Court spiral staircase
Spiral staircase (taken while looking up). This beauty is closed to the public but you can peek up

In addition to the exhibits, there are also ongoing courtroom lectures led by a docent (9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. when the court is not sitting) and a film - we didn't get to do either these. Nor did we look into how to attend a court session (these are first-come, first-serve basis and being we had a Capitol tour scheduled, we didn't have time anyway).

We spent maybe about 40 minutes just wandering around before heading over to our Capitol tour. I'd like to go back again someday and listen to a lecture and see the film. 

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