Is the Supreme Court Moving to the National Mall?
I was reading a Washington Post article about plans to expand the Mall in Washington DC because of all the clutter from new monuments, museums, and memorials. On this page, the Post has a few visions for the new expanded Mall, which would utilize East Potomac Park. I was quite surprised when I read the caption at the top of the drawings:
Architects have responded to a call for ideas on expanding the Mall, particularly into East Potomac Park, with visions of plazas, museums, a new Supreme Court building, stores — and beaches.
Many people’s first reactions might be: Beaches? In Washington, DC? But I’m a law nerd, so my reaction was: A new Supreme Court building? On the Mall?
Sure enough, one of the proposals has a new Supreme Court building sitting not too far from the Jefferson Memorial. I’m not too keen on this idea.
First, I think that the current Supreme Court building is glorious, and I wonder whether we really need a new Supreme Court building. As Jason Mazzone notes, the Court certainly hasn’t been expanding its workload of late, so why would it need more space?
Second, I wonder whether the new location is a commentary on the Supreme Court. Instead of its current location behind the Capitol, it will sit rather isolated in a place near memorials. Is this insinuating that the Court has become isolated and aloof, sitting on an island practically all by itself? Is it insinuating that the Court has become an historical relic, something that mattered once in the past but that is now relegated to serving largely as a memorial?