The Supreme Court Building was designed by Cass Gilbert and built from 1931 to
1935. The Court first sat in the building on Monday, October 7, 1935. The building, majestic in size
and rich in ornamentation, serves as both home to the Court and the manifest symbol of its importance as a
coequal, independent branch of government. Architectural information
describing many of the building's sculptural elements may be obtained from the Visitor Desk
on the ground floor.
Although the Supreme Court does not offer guided walking tours, visitors are encouraged to tour the building on
their own and take advantage of a variety of educational programs including Courtroom Lectures, a visitors’
film, and court-related exhibitions.
The Courtroom is located on the First Floor. Court sessions are open to
the public on a first-come, first-served basis. Please refer to the
Oral Argument page for additional information on attending a
In addition to the Courtroom, 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. For additional information on visiting the Court, please refer to the
Visitor’s Guide to the Supreme Court.
Trained Docents lead these 30-minute programs, which are designed to
introduce visitors of all ages to the judicial functions of the Supreme Court, the history of the Building,
and the architecture of the Courtroom.
Courtroom Lectures are available Monday through Friday. On days that the
Court is not sitting, lectures are generally scheduled every-hour on the half-hour beginning at 9:30 a.m. with a
final lecture at 3:30 p.m. When the Court is in session, Courtroom Lectures are available only after Court
adjourns for the day.
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. Lectures are free of charge and do not require
tickets or reservations. Once inside the building, it is suggested that those wishing to attend a lecture be
in line 15 minutes before it is scheduled to begin.
The calendar below contains the Courtroom Lecture schedule for the next
30 days. Click on a day to view the scheduled lecture times. Because lectures take place in the Courtroom, they
are subject to cancellation due to the business of the Court.
A theater is located on the Ground Floor featuring The Supreme Court, a 24-minute film that examines the history of the building and features interviews with the Chief Justice and both sitting and retired Justices. Showings are continuous from 9:15 a.m. until 3:45 p.m. Open captioning is provided at each showing.
The Office of the Curator creates exhibitions on the history of the Supreme Court, the Justices and the work of the Court.
All exhibitions are located on the Ground Floor.