The Constitution created three branches of government. Two branches, Congress and the presidency, had their own homes. For 134 years, the Supreme Court shared the Capitol. It met first in a committee room, later in the library, and, from 1810 to 1860, in a first-floor chamber designed by B. Henry Latrobe. In 1860, the Court moved to the Senate’s former second-floor chamber.
In 1926, Chief Justice William Howard Taft asked architect Cass Gilbert to plan a courthouse. The site selected faced the Capitol on First Street, Northeast. Its proximity to Union Station—convenient for out-of-town lawyers—was an important consideration. Congress appropriated just under $10 million and created a commission in 1929 to oversee construction, which began in 1930. The building opened five years later.