A caption in yesterday's Washington Post failed to correctly identify Chief Judge Theodore R. Newman Jr. of the D.C. Court of Appeals. CAPTION: Picture 1, Chief Justice Warren Burger, Judge Theodore Newman, and Chief Judge Harold Green are happy with new D.C. courthouse; Picture 2, a general view of a courtroom in new building, Photos by Gerald Martineau - The Washington Post; Picture 3, A general view of the District of Columbia's $40 million courthouse with escalators dominating the spacious lobby. The courts, once housed in seven, scattered buildings, all now come under the one roof., By Jame M. Thresher - The Washington Post
With a judicious amount of pomp and circumstance, the D.C. Superior Court, once housed in seven tired and well worn buildings, took on a new image yesterday with the formal dedication of the $40 million District of Columbia Courthouse.
Chief Judge Harold H. Greene, who shepherded the local court system through its difficult years of procedural and administrative reforms, called the new glass and stone structure "the final symbol" of maturity for the city courts.
"What will really count will be the spirit with which the court performs its work in this building," Greene told the judges, lawyers, politicians and courthouse employes who filled the basement cafeteria in the new building for the dedication ceremonies.
An uncommon spirit of enthusiasm and pride in the halls and offices of the courthouse pervaded the new building yesterday. A large arrangement of bright yellow roses sat on the counter at the information center on the first floor.Carrying floor plans, lawyers, including assistant U.S. Attorneys, gave guided tours throughout the building.
The hallways always littered with cigarette butts and used coffee cups in the old building, were spotless, the floors gleaming.No smoking or eating will be permitted in the public areas of this courthouse, officials said.
"Oh, its very nice . . . I'll have to start coming (to court) in a suit," quipped Judge Alfred Burka as he stood at the foot of the escalators at the center of the nine-story courthouse.
The threat of rain forced the dedication ceremonies, which were scheduled to be conducted on the plaza at the main entrance, into the partially completed cafeteria area. On the ground floor there, the U.S. Marine Band seranaded the guests with vigorous renditions of ceremonial music that seemed to shake the courthouse walls.
Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, a guest at the ceremony, spoke briefly to the group crammed into the cafeteria. He noted they were "up to their armpits" in the black-robed judges from both the U.S. and local bench who were in attendance and remarked that, as a result, "the process of justice (was) momentarily at hault".
One guest who drew particular attention was Rep. William H. Natcher (D-Ky.) who, as chairman of the District subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, told courthouse planners in 1974 that they could have $40 million and not a penny more" to construct their new building.
Natcher commented that it was now time to turn attention to construction of a new city hall for the District of Columbia and a convention center, a remark that drew a "Here! Here!" and quick applause from another guest, Mayor Walter E. Washington.
Washington was on hand to formally convey the new courthouse building, considered one of the most modern and secure in the nation, to Chief Judge Theodore R. Newman Jr. of the D.C. Court of Appeals, the city's highest court.
"We've come a long way baby," Newman, who presided at the dedication ceremony, told the assembly in the cafeteria. The city's new courthouse, located at 500 Indiana Ave. NW, is "a model of which its citizens can be justly proud," Newman said.
Meanwhile, over in the old court's Building A on the third floor in the dingy green lawyer's lounge, Charles A. Schaeffer, an attorney who has practiced in the local court since 1925, said he had yet to "get a gander" at the new courthouse building.
Schaeffer, 79, said he has no regrets about leaving the place where he has practiced his trade for so long.
"When you get an attachment for anything, you're dead," Schaeffer said.