The front of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC. Completed in 1935, the US Supreme Court building in Washington, DC, is the first to have been built specifically for the purpose, inspiring Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes to remark, �The Republic endures and this is the symbol of its faith.� The Court was established in 1789 and initially met in New York City. When the national capital moved to Philadelphia, the Court moved with it, before moving to the permanent capital of Washington, DC, in 1800. Congress lent the Court space in the new Capitol building, and it was to change its meeting place several more times over the next century, even convening for a short period in a private house after the British set fire to the Capitol during the War of 1812. The classical Corinthian architectural style was chosen to harmonize with nearby congressional buildings, and the scale of the massive marble building reflects the significance and dignity of the judiciary as a co-equal, independent branch of government. The main entrance is on the west side, facing the Capitol. On either side of the main steps are figures sculpted by James Earle Fraser. On the left is the female Contemplation of Justice. On the right is the male Guardian or Authority of Law. On the architrave above the pediment is the motto �Equal Justice under Law.� Capping the entrance is a group representing Liberty Enthroned, guarded by Order and Authority, sculpted by Robert Aitken. At the west entrance are marble figures sculpted by Hermon A. MacNeil. They represent great law givers Moses, Confucius, and Solon, flanked by Means of Enforcing the Law, Tempering Justice with Mercy, Settlement of Disputes between States, and Maritime and other functions of the Supreme Court. The architrave carries the motto �Justice the Guardian of Liberty.� The interior of the building is equally filled with symbolic ornamentation. The main corridor is known as the Great Hall and contains double rows of marble columns
WASHINGTON, D.C. The Supreme Court is hearing an appeal from a Florida death row inmate who claims he is protected from execution because he is mentally disabled.
The case being argued at the court Monday centers on how authorities determine who is eligible to be put to death. It comes 12 years after the justices prohibited the execution of the mentally disabled.
The court has let states set rules for judging who is mentally disabled. In Florida and certain other states, an intelligence test score higher than 70 means an inmate is not mentally disabled, even if other evidence indicates he is.
Inmate Freddie Lee Hall has scored above 70 on most of the IQ tests he has taken since 1968 but says ample evidence shows he is mentally disabled.