Ruth Bader Ginsburg memorial arraignments: Late justice lies in state at Capitol building

WPVI logo
Saturday, September 26, 2020
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a towering women's rights champion who became the court's second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington. She was 87.

WASHINGTON -- A number of memorial arraignments are underway for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a political trailblazer who is the first woman to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol.

Ginsburg's casket was brought to the Capitol on Friday morning for a private ceremony in Statuary Hall attended by her family and lawmakers, and with musical selections from one of Ginsburg's favorite opera singers, mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, attended.

Ginsburg, who died last week at age 87, is the first Jewish-American to lie in state and just the second Supreme Court justice. The first, Chief Justice William Howard Taft, also had been president.

Click here for the latest updates.

The body of Ginsburg was lain in repose at the Supreme Court Thursday, with arrangements to allow for public viewing despite the coronavirus pandemic. Both President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence paid their respects.

Congress made similar arrangements for a public viewing outside the Capitol after the death of Rep. John Lewis in July.

How Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg became a cultural icon.

On Wednesday and Thursday, thousands of people paid their respects to the women's rights champion and leader of the court's liberal bloc. As darkness fell, the line stretched nearly half a mile from the court as people filed past.

Earlier, she was honored at a private ceremony for Ginsburg's family, friends and the court's eight justices, who gathered for the first time in more than six months.

Ginsburg's former law clerks served as honorary pallbearers when the casket arrived, lining the court's front steps.

Her casket was placed on the Lincoln catafalque, which Congress loaned to the Supreme Court for the occasion.

Her bench chair and the bench directly in front of it have been draped with black wool crepe, a long-held practice that dates back to 1873. Another black drape was hung over the courtroom doors, and the flags on the court's front plaza will be flown at half-staff for 30 days. A 2016 portrait of Ginsburg will also be on display in the court's Great Hall.

RELATED: What does it mean to lie in state? How esteemed Americans are honored

Following the passing of a high-profile figure, there are two similar commemorations at the Capitol that have one key difference: government and military figures lie in state while private citizens lie in honor.

Ginsburg will make history as the first woman to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol, according to an accounting from the House of Representatives. Civil rights icon Rosa Parks was laid in honor at the Capitol in 2005, but Ginsburg will be the first woman to lie in state.

Ginsburg's family plans to hold a private burial next week at Arlington National Cemetery, where she will be buried next to her husband, Marty. Ginsburg will be the fourteenth justice buried at Arlington, joining Associate Justices Thurgood Marshall, John Paul Stevens and Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., among others.

The justice died last week at age 87 from metastatic pancreatic cancer. She served on the court for 27 years, appointed in 1993 by President Bill Clinton.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.