Atop broad stone stairs flanked by statues of ancient lawgivers, the U.S. Supreme Court building stands as a shining temple to the American idea of justice. As solidly as the building occupies a physical space in the nation’s capital, its architecture defines a cultural, social, and political space in the public imagination. Through these spaces, this book explores the home of the most revered institution of U.S. politics—its origin, history, and meaning as an expression of democratic principles.

The U.S. Supreme Court building opened its doors in 1935. Although it is a latecomer to the capital, the Court shares the neoclassical style of the older executive mansion and capitol building, and thus provides a coherent architectural representation of governmental power in the capital city. More than the story of the construction of one building or its technical architectural elements, The U.S. Supreme Court’s Democratic Spaces is the story of the Court’s evolution and its succession of earlier homes in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and New York.

This timely study of how the Supreme Court building shapes Washington as a space and a place for political action and meaning yields a multidimensional view and deeper appreciation of the ways that our physical surroundings manifest who we are as a people and what we value as a society.

About The Author
Jocelyn J. Evans is Professor of Political Science and the Associate Dean of the College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities at the University of West Florida. She is the author of several books on American federal institutions, including The Supreme Court's Democratic Spaces (with Keith Gaddie); Congressional Communication in the Digital Age (with Jessica Hayden); One Nation under Siege: Congress, Terrorism, and the Fate of American Democracy; and Women, Partisanship, and the Congress. She is also the coauthor of a popular introductory textbook on American politics, Central Ideas in American Government. Her current research focuses on the social meaning of civic spaces. With a coeditor, she has assembled an interdisciplinary team of scholars for a special issue on Confederate memorials and public spaces of contested iconography to be published by Social Science Quarterly.

Keith Gåddie is Presidential Professor of Architecture and Journalism and Executive Faculty Fellow at the University of Oklahoma. His scholarship focuses on judicial architecture and the role of race in constructing meaning and affect in the public space. He has authored or coauthored more than twenty books including Regulating Wetlands Protection, University of Georgia Football, The Triumph of Voting Rights in the South, The Rise and Fall of the Voting Rights Act, The U.S. Supreme Court’s Democratic Spaces (with Jocelyn Evans), and the forthcoming Democracy’s Meaning: How the Public Understands Democracy and Why It Matters (with Nicholas T. Davis and Kirby Goidel). He also coedits the journal Social Science Quarterly.

Book Information
52 b&w illus., 13 tables
220 Pages
Hardcover 978-0-8061-7601-7
e-pub 978-0-8061-7877-6
Published October 2021
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