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Top 5 Ways to Get to Supreme Court Oral Arguments

By Robyn Hagan Cain | Last updated on

An appellant arrives at the Supreme Court oral arguments through a writ of certiorari; a Supreme Court visitor arrives by hired car or bus.

We've told you which brand of robe you need to dress like a Supreme Court justice. We've offered instructions for hiring a line stander. Now you need to get to Court to relieve your line stander.

Driving yourself to the Supreme Court is a bad idea. The closest parking garage is half a mile away at Union Station, and traffic near Union Station is terrible. Looking for an alternative to driving yourself? Since the first Monday in October is nearly upon us, here are our top 5 suggestions to get yourself to Supreme Court oral arguments.

  • Train. Amtrak, VRE (the Virginia commuter train), and MARC (the Maryland commuter train) all stop at Union Station, which is half a mile from the Supreme Court. Metro, the D.C. transit system, operates subway trains within the city as well. The closest Metrorail train stops to the Supreme Court are Union Station (Red line, 0.5 miles) and Capitol South (Blue or Orange line, 0.3 miles). Metrorail fares are calculated on a graduated scale according to the distance traveled. The minimum fare is $1.95 and the maximum fare is $5.
  • Bus. There are three Metrobus routes that stop in front of the Supreme Court building: the 96, 97, and A11. The 32, 34, 36, and 39 buses stop at First Street and Independence Avenue, a two-block walk from the Court. Bus fare on Metrobus is $1.50 if you have a SmarTrip card, (a refillable card available for $5 at the Metro office in Metro Center), or $1.70 if you pay cash. You must have exact change for the bus. For a cheaper option, you can also ride our favorite bus, the Circulator, for $1. The Circulator's Navy Yard line stops in front of the Supreme Court.
  • Taxi or Car Service. We recommend booking your taxi the night before oral arguments if you live in D.C. or you're staying with a local. Otherwise, rely on your hotel doorman to hail a cab for you. (If your hotel doesn't have a doorman, walk to one that does.) Your driver should know how to get to the Supreme Court, but if you want to sound like a local, tell the driver your destination intersection instead of your destination landmark, (i.e. East Capitol and First, Northeast). Be sure to state the quadrant; D.C. is divided into NW, SW, NE, and SE quadrants. If you don't indicate that quadrant, you'll end up in the wrong place.
  • Car Service. If cabs aren't your thing, you can hire a car service. It's the most expensive way to get to the court, but you'll look important exiting a Towncar. Search "DC Car Service" for listings.
  • Walk. You need 30 minutes of activity most days of the week. Get fit and informed: Walk to Supreme Court oral arguments.

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