Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Supreme Court

Robin and I usually try to visit Washington while she is home. This time we decided to visit the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress and the Natural History Museum if we had time.

As usual, we took the MARC train which is a commuter train that runs from Perryville to Union Station in Washington. Since I am now the old codger, I qualify for the half price $5.50 fare each way. The train ride is really quite enjoyable and the views across the Susquahanna River are usually spectacular.

We arrived to a very cold Washington. 

When you exit Union Station you get pretty good views of the Washington Monument and the Capitol.

Official Washington is filled with impressive buildings.

It was so cold the flowers were wilting.

The Supreme Court facade was being worked on so they had used the same technique we had seen in Europe where they cover the building with cloth painted to show what you would normally see.

The insides are quite impressive and I was intrigued by the spiral staircases.

A large Christmas tree still on display.

Entrance to an elevator.

We had just missed the guided tour so we could only get a glimpse of the Court Room. 

A corridor of power.

If you are interested in what exactly the Solicitor General does for a living behind this door, click on the link.

An outdoor area where it looks like staff could relax on a nice day. It would have been a bit difficult to relax out there on this particular day with the bitter cold.

Some of the detail in the building. A lot of money was spent on this decoration.

You wonder what really goes on down the corridor behind the gate. It's probably more boring than you can imagine, or more exciting.

Inside the old elevator. There was still a human operator who bemoaned that these days she just pushed the buttons for the appropriate floors instead of operating the old lever.

There was a display of the detail on the portico.

It was the first day of Congress sitting and there were guards everywhere in the building. I asked one of them how many guarded this building and the answer was 108 people. I may have the number wrong but it was still well over 100. These poor sods were out there in the bitter cold just standing around.

As my mother would say, this building is a oncer. Once was enough but it was interesting.


  1. I have a question about the photo of the old elevator, with the lever. Did the operator press the buttons seen in the photo? Or is there another, newer panel not shown in the photo?

  2. The photo is blurry but if you click on it to enlarge it you can see the symbols on the buttons at the top and I seem to remember that is what she pushed. The facade of the elevator might be old, but I would imagine that the wiring and controls that you can't see are quite modern.

    The operator was not really needed but probably served a security function to ensure nobody messed with the elevator.