Justice Breyer’s “Dissenting Opinion” Over Public Entrance

The U.S. Supreme Court announced today that the public will no longer enter the building from the front entrance. From May 4, they will come in to the building through doors at the side of the main steps. They will be able to leave the building via the main entrance.  This decision prompted Justice Stephen G. Breyer to write an unusual “dissenting opinion” basically saying he doesn’t agree. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg signed on as well.

Here’s an excerpt:

I write with regret to note the closing of the Court’s front entrance. The Supreme Court building is currently undergoing extensive construction, and the Court has decided that, after this construction is completed, visitors to the Court—including the parties whose cases we decide, the attorneys who argue those cases, and the members of the public who come to listen and to observe their government in action— will have to enter through a side door. While I recognize the reasons for this change, on balance I do not believe they justify it. I think the change is unfortunate, and I write in the hope that the public will one day in the future be able to enter the Court’s Great Hall after passing under the famous words “Equal Justice Under Law.”

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Lawrence Hurley

Reporter based in Washington