What Is on the Fifth Floor of the Supreme Court Building?

fifth-floor-supreme-court-building Credit: Cameron Whitman/iStock/Getty Images

The United States Supreme Court is a towering presence in the American justice system, well-known for handling many of the most prestigious cases and landmark court decisions in the country. But while you’ll find the courtroom on the second floor, there is an entirely different kind of court on the fifth floor—a basketball court.

Originally used to store journals, the space—sometimes jokingly called “The Highest Court in the Land”— was transformed into a workout room for employees in the 1940s, and baskets and backboards followed soon after. Since then, the non-regulation sized court has been used as a place to shoot hoops for off-duty police officers, clerks and other building employees. There is also a weight room on the fifth floor if you’re not up for a game.

Because the building is more importantly a place of business and legal justice, people are not allowed to play on days that court is in session. If that rule is broken, you’ll probably get in trouble with a clerk and put on the record for disrupting court functions. But since the court isn’t open to the public, it likely doesn’t take long for offenders to quickly learn the rules.