Results 1-4of 4 Reviews
St. Louis, Missouri
April 2, 2009
From journal Insight from a 4-Year Visitor to Washington, D.C.
July 2, 2005
By sheer serendipity, the Thursday we choose to tour the court was the day of a very rare opinion. Usually the court hears cases October through April and delivers decisions the each of the first Mondays in June. This day (June 23, 2005), the court delivered opinions on six cases, the most important being the last the New London "Eminent Domain" decision. We were excited to have secured a seat inside, along with all the suits. The session was set to start at 10am. A few minutes before, a buzzer sounded, which indicated the justices were ready. Then a gavel sounded with the words, "ALL RISE! THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNDITED STATES IS NOW IN SESSION!" Believe me, you hop to it and rise. An officer of the court reads out a statement that sounds like it’s from Merry Old England--"Oyes, Oyes, all parties having petitions for the Court approach and be heard, God protect the United States of America and this Supreme Court!" The Justices then enter through some deep-red curtains and take their seats.
My observations: With the exception of Scalia and Ginsberg, they are all white-haired and elderly-looking. Chief Justice Rehnquist's voice, even with a mike, was weak and scratchy. He is rumored to have throat cancer. While one justice read an opinion, the others would rock in their chairs, whisper to one another, and even yawn (Justice Thomas). They seemed oblivious to the audience's presence. Nevertheless, the court does have "whips" to keep the audience in shape. One lady in my row leaned her head on the shoulder of her male partner and was quickly scolded by a "whip." After opinions were finished, they were available in printed form in the press room outside, a neat souvenir we picked up.
Downstairs there are exhibits, a short film, and portraits of past justices. Be sure to take a gander before the court opens, or afterwards at the sculptured doors at the entrance. Each door is bronze, weighs 6.5 TONS, and is decorated with famous law scenes. When the court is open for sessions or tours, these giant works of art slide into pockets in the sides and are not visible. Pamphlets describing the court building and workings are given out free of charge. The closest Metro stop is Capitol South.
From journal An Eight-Day Vacation in Washington, D.C.
by Amber Autumn
May 20, 2005
From journal Sightseeing in the Nation's Capitol
February 2, 2002
In the lower level there are exhibits that change periodically. When I was there, the topic on display was about building a home for the court. It did not have its own building until 1935. There is a theater, where a film on the Supreme Court is shown as well as a gift shop - good for lawyer gifts.
The building is open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. It is closed Saturdays, Sundays, and federal holidays.
I have not been to see oral arguments, but do know that from October to May, the court hears cases that it has accepted for review. The public may sit in on the oral arguments. 2 lines form outside on the plaza. One for those people wanting to sit and listen to the entire oral argument and those just wanting to get a 3 minute glimpse of the action.
After May, the court takes the bench at 10 am on Mondays to release orders and opinions as they are completed. The public can view this as well.
From journal Washington, DC haunts