Friday, November 27, 2015

The Supreme Court November 27, 2015

“Presidents come and go, but the Supreme Court goes on forever.” — William Howard Taft, 27th President of the United States and the 10th Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court

TODAY Paul and I toured the Supreme Court building. Our docent shared two tidbits with us about William Howard Taft that were particularly interesting to me: First, he was the only person to ever to serve as both President of the United States and a Supreme Court Justice — and second, Taft's life-long dream had always been to be a Supreme Court Justice, not president. It was his wife who wanted him to be president! Having satisfied her ambition, he finally achieved his goal after he was defeated for a second presidential term, by serving as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court from 1921 to 1930. 

Taft was also the driving force behind the construction of the magnificent Supreme Court building we have today. Before it was built, the court had had several ignominious homes. It's last location prior to being housed where it is now was in the Old Senate Chamber of the Capitol, where the Justices had no private chambers, and their conferences had to be held in the Capitol's basement. In 1929 Justice Taft convinced Congress to build a separate, spacious building for the Supreme Court, successfully arguing that the Court needed to distance itself from the Congress as a separate branch of the federal government. The building was completed in 1935, five years after Taft's death.

Below are some pictures from our tour.

In the plaza area in front of the Supreme Court. It was 70-some degrees on November 27!

Paul in the stairway leading up to the Supreme Court chambers.

While waiting in this hall for our tour, we chatted with a family sitting next to us only to discover that not only are they from Cedar Rapids, IA, but they were on the very same flight we took out of Des Moines last Tuesday. One of their two sons has applied to attend law school, and wanted to see the Supreme Court, so mom and dad brought them here.

Marble circular steps. They're cordoned off from use, but how beautiful!
A panoramic that Paul took.


  1. Great photos! What a remarkable opportunity. Don't you love the history of these marvelous places? It impresses the import of the job done in them on me. Well done.

  2. At one time I would have looked with pride at photos of this nations highest court...
    now I just shudder at the thought of future decisions.
    Thanks for sharing the photos though.

    Noodle and crew

    1. I know what you mean, and I'm with ya'. I told Paul that I was considering kicking the building, but he pointed out that it's not the building's fault. It's the occupants who need a kick in the pants.