A look inside the U.S. Supreme Court
Few get access beyond the ropes of Washington’s hallowed Supreme Court building, but Reuters’ photographer Jonathan Ernst was granted a rare opportunity to explore the halls with his camera over the the last year. His lens caught the justices as they mingled, and captured private meetings, candid moments, jokes, wardrobes and more.
After the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia in February, the eight member panel has been deadlocked as Congressional Republicans refuse to grant President Barack Obama’s recommended new justice, Merrick Garland, a hearing, even though the public, conservatives and fellow justices have called for it. Until it’s resolved, the controversial issue makes it likely many cases will end in a 4-4 split. On Thursday, the Supreme Court was stuck in one such a stalemate while ruling on an overhaul of immigration policy, subsequently blocking President Obama’s halting of deportations.
Supreme Court justices are faced with many public challenges, but these photographs focus on the private moments that go unseen. Behind the tense proceedings, the partisan headlines, and the velvet curtains that envelope the courtroom is a tight-knit community free of constant contest. After all, Scalia was a great example of how friendships can extend beyond party lines, as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg fondly remembers.