Highlighted Site of the Week – “The Highest Court in the Land” - State and Federal Communications

August 12, 2010  •  

Highlighted Site of the Week – “The Highest Court in the Land”

Seal of the U.S. Supreme CourtI found another Web site where you can easily get lost reading for hours. Get a coffee and some cookies and head to the Oyez Project.

The Oyez Project describes itself as a multimedia archive devoted to the Supreme Court of the United States and its work.

Oyez.org has taken on the ongoing task of digitally hosting the audio recordings from the court. Recordings began in 1955. Many of the recordings previously were tucked away as reel-to-reel tapes in the National Archive. The Oyez Project is working to allow visitors the chance to listen to the recordings online.

You can find a thorough archive of Supreme Court cases ranging from Chisholm v. Georgia in 1793, all the way to Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, and more recent cases, too. They have a tag cloud so you can browse cases by topic, or you can find cases by the year.

If you want a biography of a justice (past or present), the Oyez Project has it. You can even see a Youtube video of Sonia Sotomayor being sworn in as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Roberts Court, 2009

I think the most fun feature of the Oyez Project is the virtual tour of the Supreme Court. From your computer, you can walk up the steps to the bronze doors at the entrance, and then go into the Great Hall, the courtroom, and even the Justice’s chambers! (Justice Ginsburg has a teddy bear on her side table and Justice Breyer has quite a book collection.)

If you have a fast internet connection, each room only takes a moment to load. The images are high resolution and beautiful. Just don’t move your mouse too fast, or you will get dizzy making the room spin around. Yes, I tried it.

What is not on the virtual tour, however, is a different “Highest Court in the Land.” Did you know there is a gym on the top floor of the Supreme Court building that houses a basketball court where justices, clerks, and assorted other players can shoot hoops? Our Research Associate David Dobo alerted me to this great secret.

Be sure not to play while court is in session, though, because that is prohibited!

Here is a fun read from the Los Angeles Times about the basketball court:

“Legal Eagles Tip Off in ‘Highest Court in the Land,” by Gina Holland, Associated Press.

Have fun!

Photo of the sign courtesy of Sharada Jambulapati.

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