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Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Best Stadiums for the Law

Continuing on my baseball and law theme, let's talk about the best "stadiums" to watch the game of law:  courtrooms.  I was inspired by my recent trip to PNC Park in Pittsburgh; I've now been to 25 of the 30 active MLB stadiums!  (Anyone want to invite me to speak during the baseball season in Tampa, Miami, San Diego, Detroit, or New York?  I've been to old Yankee Stadium but have not seen a game at the new one.)

Out of the 25 stadiums I've seen, PNC Park may be the nicest.  It is right on the water and has beautiful views of the bridges, most seats are close to the action, the food options are good, and with the Pirates playing well, it has a great fan base.

What are the best places to watch the law?  Can we come up with a top 10 list of nicest courtrooms in the country?  Do people travel around the country to see courtrooms like they do for baseball stadiums?

I'll nominate two for the "best courtrooms" list:  the U.S. Supreme Court (for obvious reasons), and the en banc court room of the 5th Circuit in New Orleans, which is stunning.  Admittedly, I've been to far more baseball stadiums than courtrooms (I'm pretty sure this says a lot about me!).  But many that I have seen are pretty bland.  Which other courtrooms should be on my "bucket" list?

Posted by Josh Douglas on July 2, 2013 at 04:19 PM | Permalink


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I will echo the comments of those who have suggested the Pioneer Courthouse in Portland, OR. When I was active in appellate practice at DOJ, that was always a good place to go. There were a few times that there was a fire burning in the fireplace (nice touch--don't know if they still do that). I will disagree slightly with Sam B. about the 9th Cir. courthouse in Pasadena. I've not seen the en banc courtroom, but the building itself is gorgeous.

Posted by: Peter Appel | Jul 4, 2013 12:24:47 PM

The United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces in Washington, D.C. is quite nice.

Posted by: strunkl | Jul 3, 2013 10:21:43 AM

Yup - I've argued in the First Department several times. It is almost comically grand, given the court it houses.

Posted by: Raffi | Jul 3, 2013 9:48:45 AM

I agree that the best stadium for watching the law is the Supreme Court. The second best stadium for watching the law (in my opinion) is the Pioneer Courthouse in Portland, Oregon, where the Ninth Circuit hears argument. So if the Supreme Court is Pittsburgh's PNC Park, maybe that makes the Pioneer Courthouse the functional equivalent of Seattle's Safeco Field? ;-)

Posted by: Dustin Buehler | Jul 3, 2013 1:32:46 AM

Wow, Jester, those are impressive!

Posted by: Josh Douglas | Jul 2, 2013 10:13:01 PM

New York State Court of Appeals: https://www.google.com/search?q=appellate+division+first+department+courtroom&client=safari&hl=en&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=I3vTUfHBBbbG4AOkyIDADQ&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAA&biw=1024&bih=644#biv=i%7C82%3Bd%7CUqszikkhRoVvhM%3A

And Appellate Division, First Department : https://www.google.com/search?q=appellate+division+first+department+courtroom&client=safari&hl=en&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=I3vTUfHBBbbG4AOkyIDADQ&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAA&biw=1024&bih=644#biv=i%7C8%3Bd%7ChewTGlAqI2HkvM%3A

Posted by: Supremecourtjester | Jul 2, 2013 9:20:41 PM

The Ninth Circuit en banc courtroom in San Francisco is pretty awesome. Not so much the one in Pasadena. I also like the Ninth Circuit's courthouse in Portland, which is historic and a bit quaint. Some of the newer courthouse buildings are quite cool (the Boston and St. Louis federal courthouses), though I don't think the courtrooms are amazing. But the Fifth Circuit's en banc courtroom in New Orleans is the best one I've been in.

Posted by: Sam Bagenstos | Jul 2, 2013 8:56:33 PM

The larger 11th Circuit ceremonial courtroom in Atlanta (as opposed to the smaller one next door) is a stunner. By contrast, the D.C. Circuit courtrooms are eminently forgettable.

Posted by: guest | Jul 2, 2013 7:14:17 PM

Josh: Anytime you want to come down to Miami, I'm happy to take in a game. Plenty (and I mean PLENTY) of good seats always available.

Posted by: Howard Wasserman | Jul 2, 2013 5:34:56 PM

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