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The Supreme Court Building Commission deferred to the artists
of the Supreme Court in making decisions.
Research by Jim Allison. Writing by Tom Peters.
Another problem with the 10 Commandments argument is that the
artists made decisions about what to include in their art
independently of the Supreme Court Building Commission and of
each other. No artist, in other words, can be taken as speaking
for the "art" of the court. Even if some artist believed that
American law is grounded in the 10 Commandments, and designed art
to that effect, that would simply be his own personal opinion,
not the official position of the Commission or the artistic team.
According to the office of the Curator of the Supreme Court
The Supreme Court Building Commission, like most building
commissions of the 1930s, did not question what figures or
symbols were to be used as embellishments. They understood that
the architect had authority in this matter, with the architect
usually deferring to the sculptor himself. Such was the case with
Cass Gilbert and the embellishments on the Supreme Court building
(Descriptions of the Friezes in the Courtroom of the Supreme
Court of the United States and of the East and West Pediments of
the Building Exterior, p. 1).
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