Mourners paid their last respects Friday to late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as her casket was carried down the steps of the U.S. Capitol after she became the first woman to lie in state there.
Her flag-draped casket drew officials from across government along with friends and family who wanted to pay their respects.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, were among those to attend a relatively brief and solemn ceremony in the Capitol’s National Statuary Hall.
After House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told those in attendance she had the “high honor to welcome Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to lie in state in the Capitol of the United States,” Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt delivered the eulogy.
“All of the days of her life she pursued justice. Even in illness, she changed the course of American law,” Holtzblatt said. “And even when her views did not prevail, she still fought.”
Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris, also paid tribute to Ginsburg at the ceremony, which was attended by a limited number of invited guests because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Ginsburg’s casket rested on the same wooden platform built for the casket of President Abraham Lincoln after his assassination in 1865.
Following the ceremony, mourners were able to pay their respects before a motorcade carrying her casket departed from the Capitol.
Burial at Arlington
A statement by the U.S. Supreme Court said Ginsburg, who was also the first Jewish person to lie in state at the Capitol, would be buried next week in a private ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.
Ginsburg had lain in repose for two days at the Supreme Court.
U.S. President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, appeared Thursday at the Supreme Court to pay their respects to Ginsburg. The president, wearing a face mask, made no remarks as he stood briefly a short distance from Ginsburg’s casket at the top of the court building’s steps.
Vice President Mike Pence paid his respects to Ginsburg as she lay in state at the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
Ginsburg was honored Wednesday with a private ceremony in the Supreme Court’s Great Hall attended by her family and fellow justices. Her casket was then moved to the front steps for members of the public to file past and pay their respects until Thursday night.
Civil rights icon Rosa Parks lay in honor in the Capitol’s historic Rotunda after her death in 2005, a distinction given to eminent private citizens.
27 years on court
Ginsburg died last Friday at age 87 of metastatic pancreatic cancer, ending a 27-year tenure on the nation’s highest court. Her status as leader of the court’s liberal minority, along with her prejurist work seeking legal equality for women and girls in all spheres of American life, made her a cultural icon, earning her the nickname “The Notorious R.B.G.”
Her death has sparked a political battle over her replacement. Trump and Senate Republicans vowed to name and confirm a new justice before the November 3 presidential election, which would give the court a solid 6-3 conservative majority.
Trump announced Tuesday that he would name his nominee for the lifetime appointment on Saturday.