Starting soon, there will be two Supreme Court facades — the real one and a false one, a “scrim” that will look very much like the front of the building since it was built in 1935, when the Justices first moved in.  Work is to begin next week on a 21-month project, the Court said in a news release, to “repair and preserve the building’s exterior marble facade.”  The Court, already lampooned regularly by a Washington, D.C., comedy troupe, the Capitol Steps, may be unwittingly opening itself to a few more jabs — just as a new Pew Research Center poll showed its favorability rating falling.

While the stone repair work continues, the Court building will be unseen behind a fabric that will have on it the architectural image of the Court’s west side — just as in operatic productions that mimic some grand, or humble, structure.   Apparently spreading from one end of the building to the other, from the ground up, the “scrim” is intended to be a more pleasing way to cover up an array of scaffolding along the front.

The project apparently has been anticipated since a marble piece fell from the front pediment seven years ago, high on the west side above the entrance; it fell to the front plaza, but no one was injured.  Since then, construction crews had put up netting to keep other pieces from crashing down.  “A stone conservation consultant recommended a course of treatment,” the Court announced, that will include cleaning, new masonry adhesive, removal of items designed to keep birds away, and other necessary repairs.

The Court has assured its public that, while the project continues, there will be no added problem getting into or out of the building.

Posted in Everything Else

Recommended Citation: Lyle Denniston, Which is the real Supreme Court?, SCOTUSblog (May. 3, 2012, 9:47 PM),