On this day in 1790 the US Supreme Court held its first session.
You may have heard that the White House has its own bowling alley and the US Capitol has a gym for members of Congress?
Well, the Supreme Court has its own basketball court.
Let’s back up a little bit.
The Court has moved around a lot over the years.
It held that first session in New York City, and moved to Philadelphia later in 1790.
It set up shop first at Independence Hall and then at Philly’s City Hall.
When the federal government moved to Washington DC in 1800, the high court came too.
But while there was the White House for the president and the Capitol for Congress, there was no separate space for the Supreme Court.
The justices had to use space in the US Capitol for over a century.
In 1929, former president and then-Chief Justice William Howard Taft convinced lawmakers that to be a truly independent branch of the government, the judicial branch needed its own independent building.
That space opened in 1935.
The building has a legal library, office space, conference rooms and a Robing Room.
There’s the Great Hall that leads into the Court Chamber, where the justices hear oral arguments.
That’s on the fourth-floor.
And above that is a space that was originally designed for storage but after just a few years became the Supreme Court gym.
It’s not quite regulation size, and the ceiling is not quite as high as it should be, but justices, staffers, family members and guests have played lots of pick up basketball over there over the years.
The one rule is that nobody plays while the court is in session, because it would be weird to hear sneakers squeak and basketballs bounce in the middle of a case.
And yes, several justices have hurt themselves playing ball on the fifth floor.
But it doesn’t seem to have hurt the appeal of Supreme Court basketball.
Their court is nicknamed “the highest court in the land.”
Today in 1948, the birthday of funk star Rick James.
According to his memoir, James once had dinner with Surrealist artist Salvador Dali.
The artist spent a large portion of the meal making a sketch of James’ face on a napkin.
Dali then offered James the napkin, a one of a kind keepsake from one artist to another.
The only problem? The next morning, James went swimming, having forgotten that the napkin was in his pocket.
As Rick James would say, it’s still a celebration,
The Highest Court in the Land (Sports Illustrated)