Supreme Court shuts main doors to stop bioterror threats

In an effort in part to protect against the possibility of biological and chemical terrorist plots, the U.S. Supreme Court has cordoned off its famous front entrance to the public. 

Starting May 4, visitors to the court must now enter through side entrances.

"The entrance provides a secure, reinforced area to screen for weapons, explosives, and chemical and biological hazards," the court declared in a public statement, according to a McClatchy Newspapers wire story.

As is often the case in the nation's highest courthouse, the decision was not a unilateral one. 

"I think the change is unfortunate," Justice Stephen Breyer wrote, according to the McClatchy story. He wrote that "to many members of the public, this court's main entrance and front steps are not only a means to, but also a metaphor for, access to the court itself."

Justice Sonia Sotomayor also disagreed with the move to shutter the front entrance, the report states. A tally of the nine justices opinions on the change has not been made public. 
The report says that court officials deemed the move to be necessary, saying that the new entry plan will make the building more secure. 

Last year, 392,488 public visitors entered the court building.