Supreme Court of the United States

"Oyez, oyez, oyez"

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They’re the boss of you. Not too many people can claim that authority. Well, ok, your parents maybe. Your older sister. Your actual boss.

But the 9 justices, they reign supreme over everybody. These are the men and women, one chief justice and eight associates, who review cases and settle legal controversies in accordance with the Constitution and its enduring principles.

If you see people standing in line on the front plaza of the Court building, join it, since that usually means the Court is in session and arguing a case; all arguments are open to the public on a first come, first served basis. It is truly a rare and fascinating experience to behold the back-and-forth between justices and the lawyers arguing their cases. And it’s not televised, so you can only enjoy this phenomenon by standing in line to try for one of the 150 seats, or to settle for the three-minute stand, listen, and leave experience. If the line is really long, the case is likely juicy and contentious. Oral arguments start the first Monday in October and run through April.
Whether or not the Court is arguing cases or releasing opinions, you can always tour the building.

“Oyez, oyez, oyez?” Means “hear ye, hear ye, hear ye,” the words uttered at the start of each argument.

NEARBY: The Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building is next door, and the Capitol Building is across the street. The interesting Folger Shakespeare Library is just around the corner, and Union Station is only a few blocks away.

Metro: Capitol South on the Silver, Blue, and Orange Lines or Union Station on the Red Line.

At A Glance

1 First St. NE
Washington 20543


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