Ruth Bader Ginsburg to be honored both at the Supreme Court and Capitol

Tribune Content Agency

WASHINGTON — Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will lie in repose at the Supreme Court and lie in state at the Capitol this week, providing the public an opportunity to pay their respects to the trailblazing judge.

The casket will arrive in front of the court just before 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, the court said in a statement. Ginsburg’s family, close friends and members of the court will participate in a private ceremony in the court’s Great Hall at 9:30 a.m.

Ginsburg will then lie in repose under the portico at the top of the front steps of the Supreme Court building to allow for public viewing outdoors.

“The public is invited to pay respects in front of the Building from approximately 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. on Wednesday, September 23, and from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. on Thursday, September 24,” the court said in its statement.

Ginsburg’s former law clerks will serve as honorary pallbearers and will line the front steps as the casket arrives. Supreme Court police officers will serve as pallbearers.

“The justices will remain inside the Great Hall where the casket will be placed on the Lincoln Catafalque, which has been loaned to the Court by the U.S. Congress for the ceremony,” the statement said. “A 2016 portrait of Justice Ginsburg by Constance P. Beaty will be on display in the Great Hall.”

On Friday morning, a formal ceremony for invited guests will be held at the Capitol honoring Ginsburg. Her casket will lie atop the Lincoln Catafalque, the same platform built and used during the funeral of Abraham Lincoln after the 16th president was assassinated in 1865, in Statuary Hall, according to a statement from Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Large crowds gathered outside the Supreme Court building Friday night after the news of Ginsburg’s death broke, and thousands flooded the court again on Saturday night for a vigil featuring speeches from Democratic Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

If those crowds are any indication, long lines are likely to form as the public heads to Capitol Hill this week to pay their respects to Ginsburg in person during the three days of public viewing at the court and the Capitol.

Thirty-four people have lain in state or honor at the Capitol since 1852, according to the Congressional Research Service. Ginsburg will be the first woman to lie in state, a distinction reserved for government officials. Civil rights icon Rosa Parks lay in honor at the Capitol in 2005, a distinction reserved for a select few private citizens.

Most recently, Georgia Rep. and civil rights leader John Lewis lay in state in the Capitol Rotunda after he died in July. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings lay in state in Statuary Hall last year. Using the Rotunda for such an honor requires approval from both House and Senate leaders. Pelosi did not need cooperation from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to utilize Statuary Hall.

The only other Supreme Court justice to lie in state was William Howard Taft, who served as chief justice after his term as president.

The Capitol has been closed to nearly all visitors since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, and details of the public’s access to Ginsburg at the Capitol, including public health guidance, have not yet been released. The public viewing of Lewis’ flag-draped casket was held outdoors in July. That was a departure from tradition but aligned with public health guidance, which says outdoor gatherings are safer than those in enclosed spaces.

The memorials for Ginsburg have put some congressional business on hold, including the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies and the Architect of the Capitol’s traditional First Nail Ceremony, scheduled for Wednesday. The First Nail Ceremony marks the official launch of construction on the inaugural platform and is attended by leaders of both chambers. It was postponed “out of respect for the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.”

Ginsburg, 87, died Friday after a long illness with pancreatic cancer. She will be buried Tuesday, Sept. 29, after Yom Kippur, the most solemn day in the Jewish calendar. She will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery alongside her husband of 56 years, Marty Ginsburg, who died in 2010. Members of the court, family and close friends will attend.

The vacancy on the court left by her death has set up a battle over the nomination and confirmation of a new justice. Democrats say that the GOP-led Senate should wait until after the November election to vote on a nominee.

President Donald Trump said Monday that he plans to name a replacement for Ginsburg Friday or Saturday.

“We should wait until the services are over,” he said.


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