Wednesday, March 7, 2012


I took my son out of school for a day to take a train to Washington, D.C. with me.  With a world class city like DC as your classroom, what's missing one day of school?  We'd been to Washington several times before this (and several after), but always on the weekends.  What I didn't know is that the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is open to the public to enter and tour.   

The Supreme Court is located just across the street from the eastern side of the United States Capitol Building, but I don't think nearly as many people visit, perhaps not knowing (or not interested) it is open to the public, just like all other government buildings in Washington.  

Standing at the front door of the Supreme Court looking at the Capitol.  

Like all buildings in Washington, D.C., there is a trade off to get inside. You have to be searched, and the search to enter the Supreme Court is a little more serious than, say, The National Portrait Gallery or the Museum of Natural History.  As it happens, I was carrying a small pocket knife about two inches long.  I was told I would have to throw it away or be denied entry.  I look at it this way:  I can always get another pocket knife, but I may never be able to escort my son into the Supreme Court of the United States.  The knife clunked into the bottom of the trash can as we finished putting our shoes back on and went on our way.  

There isn't really much to see inside the Supreme Court, but on the day we were there an contingent of foreign military officers was being escorted into the courtroom on a guided tour.  When they were inside, the door to the chamber was left open and I took the picture below.   Along the back wall you can see five of the nine judges' chairs.  I learned later photography was not allowed, but it was after I was home and read something abut it online.  Opps!  At any rate, my son was thrilled (as was I) to actually see it up close, and thought the trip was worth missing a day in the classroom for. 

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