The U.S. Supreme Court’s Democratic Spaces, Jocelyn J. Evans and Keith Gaddie

Reviewed by Edward L. Rubin

The physical structures where a polity conducts its operations indicate its demands, reflect its desires, and reveal its dissimulations. In The U.S. Supreme Court's Democratic Spaces, Jocelyn Evans and Keith Gaddie recount the way the structures that have housed our highest court have performed these varied functions. They explain how the Court, during the time when its role was uncertain, moved from borrowed spaces in New York and Philadelphia to a basement in the Capitol building, then to the vacated Senate chamber. Finally, in 1935, the Court obtained a home of its own, the grand, neoclassic structure that it currently occupies. The authors provide a comprehensive tour of this structure's overall design, functional spaces, and decorative features. They then explain that the chief architect, Cass Gilbert, had the classical temple, specifically the Parthenon, in mind; although they add, somewhat speculatively, that he derived additional inspiration from the Temples of Karnak and Solomon.

While the authors are alert to criticisms of American government and its architectural manifestations, they generally accept the view that neoclassic architecture reflects our nation's democratic character. There is reason to question both parts of this apparently comforting equivalence, however. Classical temples were religious buildings designed to honor

To continue reading, see options above.

About PSQ's Editor


Full Access

Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.


A Purple Agenda For The Next Four Years
June 20, 2024
7:30 p.m.–9:00 p.m. ET


Editor’s spotlight

Virtual Issue

Introduction: Black Power and the Civil Rights Agendas of Charles V. Hamilton
Marylena Mantas and Robert Y. Shapiro


Search the Archives

Publishing since 1886, PSQ is the most widely read and accessible scholarly journal with distinguished contributors such as: Lisa Anderson, Robert A. Dahl, Samuel P. Huntington, Robert Jervis, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Theda Skocpol, Woodrow Wilson

view additional issues

Most read

Articles | Book reviews

Understanding the Bush Doctrine
Robert Jervis

The Study of Administration
Woodrow Wilson

Notes on Roosevelt's "Quarantine" Speech
Dorothy Borg

view all

New APS Book

China in a World of Great Power Competition   CHINA IN A WORLD OF GREAT POWER COMPETITION

About US

Academy of Political Science

The Academy of Political Science, promotes objective, scholarly analyses of political, social, and economic issues. Through its conferences and publications APS provides analysis and insight into both domestic and foreign policy issues.

Political Science Quarterly

With neither an ideological nor a partisan bias, PSQ looks at facts and analyzes data objectively to help readers understand what is really going on in national and world affairs.

Stay Connected

newsstand locator
About APS