Supreme Court of the United States
“EQUAL JUSTICE UNDER LAW” – These words, written above the main entrance to the Supreme Court Building, express the ultimate responsibility of the Supreme Court of the United States. The Court is the highest tribunal in the Nation for all cases and controversies arising under the Constitution or the laws of the United States. As the final arbiter of the law, the Court is charged with ensuring the American people the promise of equal justice under law and, thereby, also functions as guardian and interpreter of the Constitution.
Article III, §1, of the Constitution provides that “[t]he judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.” The Supreme Court of the United States was created in accordance with this provision and by authority of the Judiciary Act of September 24, 1789 (1 Stat. 73). It was organized on February 2, 1790.
The Supreme Court consists of the Chief Justice of the United States and such number of Associate Justices as may be fixed by Congress. The number of Associate Justices is currently fixed at eight (28 U. S. C. §1). Power to nominate the Justices is vested in the President of the United States, and appointments are made with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Supreme Court Building, located at One First Street, NE, in Washington, DC, is the permanent home of the Court. Completed in 1935, the Building is open to the public Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and is closed on weekends and federal holidays.
Visiting the Supreme Court
The Supreme Court Building, majestic in size and rich in ornamentation, serves as both home to the nation’s highest Court and the manifest symbol of its importance as a coequal, independent branch of government. The Supreme Court Building is open to the public Monday – Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. It is closed on weekends and all federal holidays.
In addition to the Courtroom, portions of the first and ground floors of the Supreme Court Building are open to the public. Visitors should be aware that the business of the Court may from time to time affect public access to the building or alter programming offered. Please check Today at the Court on the homepage for the Court’s daily calendar.