Currently, most of the attention on the nation's highest court is focused on what's been happening on the inside of the Supreme Court building with national healthcare under heavy debate.
However, recently I found myself wandering and exploring what's to see on the outside.
Recently the hearings had commenced regarding the Affordable Health Care Act, but weekend leading up to Easter was rather quiet. Although, the week before my Saturday visit, many people were on the steps of the Supreme Court airing their views on Obamacare.
The Washington region was experiencing gorgeous weather last weekend and most of the action was taking place down at the other end of the National Mall near the Tidal Basin and the Cherry Blossom Festival. On this day, not a lot of people were hanging around the Supreme Court building, but there were some others doing much of the same as I was, getting a close up view of the building that houses the highest court in the land.
Visitors sitting aside one of two pools of water outside the U.S. Supreme Court
Living in the area, I'd seen the Supreme Court building numerous times, but never had gotten a close-up view of its architecture and ornate build, and decided it was beyond time to do so.
For over a century the highest court in the United States did not have its own space. When the District of Columbia was established, the Supreme Court initially held Court in space located in the nation's Capitol building, and had moved several times over the decades.
This lasted until the 20th century when finally the Supreme Court got its own building 146 years after its inception. In 1935 the building's construction was complete, giving the court a permanent home.
Architect Cass Gilbert designed the building, modeling the structure after ancient Rome. The main entrance, designed by John Donnelly, Jr., portrays eight historic scenes in the development of law, and is made of bronze.
An upward view of the U.S. Supreme Court's columns
On both sides of the Supreme Court's front stairway are two statues designed by sculptor James Earle Fraser, the Contemplation of Justice (on the left) and the Guardian or Authority of Law (on the right).
Guardian or Authority of Law, one of two large sculptures outside the U.S. Supreme Court
Located at First Street NE between East Capitol Street and Maryland Avenue, the Supreme Court is adjacent to the U.S. Capitol and the Library of Congress. Visitors are allowed in the building during weekday business hours, security screening is required.
The Supreme Court's website provides additional information to know before visiting.