Description: Style: Neoclassical
The building is composed of three parts, a dominant temple of Roman derivation flanked by two wide horizontal wings. The temple, literally conceived of as the temple of justice, contains the most important functions, culminating in the Supreme Court chamber, which terminates its 385-foot-long axis. The physical and symbolic pathway to this chamber begins on the plaza. A few steps above the sidewalk, a 100-foot-wide terrace—a square expanded by great apsidal ends—runs counter to the main east-west axis. The terrace is enclosed by the same low wall that surrounds the entire building and is paved in the gray and white marble pattern of alternating circles and squares seen at the Roman Parthenon.
Immediately upon entering the terrace one encounters marble candelabra, where low-relief panels depict Justice holding her sword and scales and the Three Fates weaving the thread of life. The bronze bases of the flagpoles there, designed by Gilbert and modeled by John Donnelly, Jr., are decorated with numerous symbols of justice (scales and swords, books, masks and torches, pens and maces) as well as the four elements (earth, air, fire, and water). At the closure of the terrace a full-story staircase draws one upward onto the dipteral octastyle portico.
Throughout this entire processional route, one is surrounded by white Vermont marble with an unusually high mica content. Reflections are so brilliant on sunny days that they almost blind the viewer. White glazed-tile roofs contribute to the luminous quality of the building. The opulence of these materials is complemented by the richness of the architectural and sculptural decoration and the intricacy of its allegorical theme.