The Supreme Court – visit a grand temple of justice on the Washington DC Bus Tour

This is the seat of the Supreme Court of the United States. Built in the neoclassical style, it stands as a temple of justice, with an imposing public façade made of marble. Most of this comes from America, but the marble of the courtroom’s 24 columns came from quarries near Siena in Italy.

Hop off here on your Washington D.C Bus Tour –when the court isn’t in session, you can walk through the Great Hall and the public areas on the ground floor. There’s a café and a small movie theater showing a documentary about the court. You can also take a guided lecture that will take you into the grand courtroom itself.

See the sculptures

Around the building you can see a number of sculptures of historical and allegorical figures. In the Great Hall are busts of each of the Chief Justices of the United States. And see if you can spot the mottos on the building’s facades – ‘Equal Justice Under Law’ to the west, and ‘Justice, the Guardian of Liberty’ on the east.


On 28th November 2005, a basketball-sized chunk of marble fell 4 stories from the west façade onto the steps of the court. Don’t worry, it’s all been repaired and made safer since then. Speaking of basketball, there’s a basketball court on the 5th floor of the building – they call it the highest court in the land!

Other interesting facts about The Supreme Court

  • The Court first sat in this impressive building on Monday October 7th 1935
  • The library here has a collection of 500,000 books, as well as a large microform collection
  • In 1987 the building was declared a National Historic Landmark
  • The Supreme Court originally met at Capitol Hill until 1935