The Supreme Court met at the Capitol from 1802 to when the Supreme Court building was completed in 1935. Architect Cass Gilbert used styles from Roman temples, constructing the building in white marble. There is a massive set of stairs up to a portico fronted by sixteen Corinthian columns.
The bronze doors are 17 feet high, and weigh 13 tons. They were designed by Gilbert and John Donnelly, and cast by The General Bronze Corporation of Long Island City. The bas relief represent famous landmarks in the development of law, starting in the lower left to upper left, and then lower right to upper right:
- Shield of Achilles – men debating a point of law, as described in the Iliad
- Praetor’s Edict – a Roman magistrate pronounces an edict while a soldier stands by
- Julian, a prominent law teacher in ancient Rome, works with a scholar
- The publishing of the Justinian Code in the sixth century
- King John placing his seal on the Magna Carta
- King Edward I watches the publication of the Statute of Westminster in 1275.
- Lord Chief Justice Coke bars King James I from going into the court, thus establishing the independence of the court
- Chief Justice John Marshall discussing the Marbury v. Madison case
The doors roll into the walls when open. However, the doors are no longer used for public entryway as of the modernization of the building in 2010, for security reasons, since a better security entryway was constructed on the lower level as part of the modernization.