News / USA

    Obamas Pay Respects to US High Court's Scalia

    The body of Justice Antonin Scalia arrives at the Supreme Court in Washington, Feb. 19, 2016. Thousands of mourners will pay their respects to him Friday in the court building's Great Hall.
    The body of Justice Antonin Scalia arrives at the Supreme Court in Washington, Feb. 19, 2016. Thousands of mourners will pay their respects to him Friday in the court building's Great Hall.
    Aru Pande

    President Barack Obama paid respects Friday to Antonin Scalia as the  justice's body lay in repose at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington.

    The president and first lady Michelle Obama joined the hundreds of others who filed through the high court's Great Hall to honor the conservative justice, who died February 13 at age 79.

    "This is an opportunity for the president to both pay his personal respects to those who loved Justice Scalia but also pay tribute to the outsized impact that he had on our country and our legal system," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.

    Obama and the first lady, both dressed in black, stood by the casket and bowed their heads for a few moments before walking to a portrait of the late justice, where they stood briefly and exchanged a few words.

    The White House later said that while they were at the Supreme Court, the president and first lady met privately with some members of Scalia’s family, where they “extended their personal condolences on behalf of the nation, and expressed gratitude for Justice Scalia’s decades of public service.”

    Hours after reports of Scalia's death last Saturday, Obama honored the longest-serving justice in brief remarks.

    "He influenced a generation of judges, lawyers and students, and profoundly shaped the legal landscape," Obama said of Scalia. "He will no doubt be remembered as one of the most consequential judges and thinkers to serve on the Supreme Court."

    Next justice?

    Obama has begun the process of naming Scalia's successor.

    Earnest told reporters the president called Republican Senators Mitch McConnell and Chuck Grassley, as well as Democratic Senators Harry Reid and Patrick Leahy, within the last day.

    "There was an opportunity for the president to make clear that he is going to nominate someone," the White House spokesman said. "The president made clear that he is committed to consulting with Congress as he decides who that nominee should be, and the president made clear that he is doing all of this because he has the constitutional responsibility to do so."

    Scalia was part of a 5-4 conservative majority on the Supreme Court, and his death set the stage for a political showdown between Obama, a Democrat, and the Republican-controlled Senate, which is threatening to block any nominee put forward by the president to fill the court vacancy.

    Some Senate Republicans, including Majority Leader McConnell, say the next president, who will take office in January 2017, should name someone to fill Scalia's seat, not Obama.

    Earnest on Friday repeated the administration's call for the Senate to fulfill its constitutional responsibility in considering a new justice.

    WATCH: Mourners pay their respects

    Public Pays Respects to US Supreme Court's Scaliai
    X
    VOA News
    February 19, 2016 7:49 PM
    Thousands of people paid their last respects Friday to Justice Antonin Scalia, whose body lay in repose in the U.S. Supreme Court's Great Hall. A few of them gave their thoughts at the public viewing.

    Funeral plans

    Scalia's public viewing Friday was scheduled to last until 8 p.m. EST (0100 GMT Saturday).

    Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, are scheduled to attend Scalia's funeral Mass on Saturday, which will be held at 11 a.m. EST (1600 GMT) at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. Burial plans have not been released.

    A woman cries as friends and staff of the Supreme Court attend a private ceremony in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court where late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia lies in repose, Feb. 19, 2016, in Washington.
    A woman cries as friends and staff of the Supreme Court attend a private ceremony in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court where late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia lies in repose, Feb. 19, 2016, in Washington.

    Family

    Scalia, a staunch conservative, was appointed to the court by Republican President Ronald Reagan in 1986. He was the only child of an immigrant father and an Italian-American mother and was raised in a multiethnic neighborhood of Queens in New York City.

    He is survived by his wife, Maureen, nine children and 28 grandchildren.

    One of his sons, a priest, led a brief religious ceremony before the public was allowed into the court building for the viewing.

    • The casket of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia arrives at the Supreme Court in Washington, Feb. 19, 2016.
    • The casket of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia arrives at the Supreme Court in Washington, Feb. 19, 2016.
    • A woman cries as friends and staff of the Supreme Court attend a private ceremony in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court where late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia lies in repose, Feb. 19, 2016, in Washington.
    • People stand in line to view the casket of Justice Antonin Scalia at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, Feb. 19, 2016.
    • Jose Fernandez stands outside the U.S. Supreme Court building with a sign reading "Justice Scalia Loved America" shortly after the casket of Scalia arrived at the court to lie in repose in Washington, Feb. 19, 2016.
    • People line up to pay their respect to the late Justice Antonin Scalia in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court in Washington, where Scalia's body lies in repose, Feb.19, 2016.
    • Members of the public file in to view the casket containing the remains of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia as it lies in repose in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court in Washington, Feb. 19, 2016.
    • Law clerks are relieved by the next team of law clerks as they stand vigil while members of the public walk through the Great Hall of the Supreme Court in Washington, where late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia lies in repose, Feb. 19, 2016.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora