The Supreme Court
Keeping watch over the Congress, literally and figuratively, the building that now houses the U.S. Supreme Court building was built across from the Capitol in 1935. Previously, the Court met in the Merchants Exchange building in New York City and moved a number of times; it was (ironically) housed in the Capitol prior to 1935. The building is classic Corinthian, with sixteen marble columns topped by a sculpted pediment. (The building was once nicknamed the Marble Palace.) Check out the statues
The U.S. Supreme Court is the highest court of the judicial branch of our government. It is besieged by close to 7,000 requests a year for retrial of controversial cases that bear on issues affecting the nation, but it hears only about 100 cases annually.
Educational programs, a theater, and changing exhibits are located on the ground floor. The Court's Great Hall features a twenty-minute film on how the Supreme Court works, as well as its history and some of its more famous cases. There's a gift shop on the premises, as well as two restaurants.
The first bill introduced in the U.S. Senate was the Judiciary Act of 1789, which established the U.S. Supreme Court, originally composed of five associate justices and a chief justice. Today there are eight associate justices and one chief justice. Members of the U.S. Supreme Court are appointed by the president and subject to approval by the Senate.
The U.S. Supreme Court building is located behind the Capitol, on First Street SE, between East Capitol Street and Maryland Avenue. Take the Orange or Blue Line Metro to Capitol South or the Red Line to Union Station. Visitor hours are Monday through Friday from 9