Visiting the U.S. Supreme Court Building in Washington, DC

What You Need to Know About Visiting the Supreme Court

Supreme court of USA
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The U.S. Supreme Court is an interesting place to visit and many people do not realize that it is open to the public. The Court was originally located in the Capitol Building in Washington, DC. In 1935, the current U.S. Supreme Court Building was constructed in a Corinthian architectural style to match the nearby congressional buildings. On the front stairway are two statues, the Contemplation of Justice and the Guardian or Authority of Law.

The Chief Justice and 8 associate justices make up the Supreme Court, the highest judicial authority in the United States. They decide whether actions of Congress, the President, the states and the lower courts follow the principles of the Constitution. Out of approximately 7,000 cases submitted each year to the Supreme Court, only about 100 cases are heard.

See Photos of the Supreme Court Building

Supreme Court Location

The U.S. Supreme Court is located on Capitol Hill at First Street and Maryland Avenue in NW, Washington, DC.

Visiting Hours and Availability

The Supreme Court is in session October through April and visitors may view sessions on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Seating is limited and given on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The Supreme Court Building is open throughout the year from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Portions of the First and Ground Floors are open to the public.

Highlights include the John Marshall Statue, portraits and busts of Justices and two self-supporting marble spiral staircases. Visitors can explore exhibits, see a 25-minute film on the Supreme Court, and participate in a variety of educational programs. Lectures in the Courtroom are given every hour on the half-hour, on days that the Court is not in session.

A line forms in the Great Hall on the First Floor before each lecture, and visitors are admitted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Visiting Tips

  • Arrive early to avoid long lines
  • Allow 1-2 hours to explore the building
  • Be sure to take some time to explore the exhibits and enjoy the artwork
  • Plan a full day of sightseeing and visit nearby attractions including the Capitol Building, the Capitol Visitor Center and the Library of Congress.