Oh Security Theater. You’re so old. You’re so busted. And yet, we have to live with you, like the creepy ex who just won’t stop coming back. Today’s victim is the Supreme Court’s front door, symbolic for many reasons, if not the carved marble which reads, “Equal Justice Under Law.” Starting today, visitors and petitioners will be required to use the side entrance to go through additional security procedures before going inside.
In response, Justices Ginsburg and Breye penned an unofficial official dissent, highlighting the history of the design of the Court, as well as the significance of the front door:
[Architect Cass] Gilbert’s solution was to design an entrance that, in the words of architect and lawyer Paul Byard, “emphasiz[ed] the processional prog-ress toward justice reenacted daily in [the Court’s] premises.”
But the significance of the Court’s front entrance extends beyond its design and function. Writers and artists regularly use the steps to represent the ideal that anyone in this country may obtain meaningful justice through application to this Court… In short, time has proven the success of Gilbert’s vision: To many members of the public, this Court’s main entrance and front steps are not only a means to, but also a metaphor for, access to the Court itself.
It is very frustrating to see the Court have to alter significantly their premises from the architect’s plan and clear design imperative just so people can have their person searched.