The Supreme Court is the highest tribunal in the nation for al cases and controversies arising under the Constitution or the laws of the United States. The Court stands as the final arbiter of the law and guardian of constitutional liberties. Its charge, emblazoned over the doors of this building, is to ensure “equal justice under law.” Architect Casa Gilbert designed the building in a classical Corinthian architectural style to create harmony with nearby congressional buildings. Its design details depict both American and legal themes. Some highlights include:
* The bronze doors at the West front entrance, each of which weighs six and one-half tons. The door panels, sculpted by John Donnelly, Jr., depict historic scenes in the development of law.
* The grand corridor leading to the Courtroom, known as the Great Hall. Busts of all former Chief Justices are set alternately in niches and on marble pedestals along the side walls. The frieze is decorated with medallion profiles of lawgivers and heraldic devices.
* The statue of John Marshall, the fourth Chief Justice, located at the end of the Lower Great Hall on the ground floor. Sculpted by William Westmore Story in 1883, the statue stood on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol until 1981, when it was moved to the Court.
* The two marble and bronze spiral staircases. Each ascends five stores and is supported only by the overlapping steps and their extensions into the wall. Few others exist in the world.
Visitors will have access to the Great Hall that features marble busts of the Chief Justices. This ground floor offers small topical exhibits, a collection of portraits and busts of Associate Justices, a 24-minute film on the work of the Court, one or two self-supporting spiral staircases, a cafeteria and gift shop.
The building is open from 9:00am to 4:30pm Monday through Friday. It is closed Saturdays, Sundays and federal holidays.