UPDATE, 9/25/20, 11:05am ET: Ruth Bader Ginsburg‘s casket was moved to the US Capitol building, where she will lie in state. Ginsburg is the first woman and first Jewish person to ever lie in state in United States history. While paying his respects to the fallen justice, Ginsburg’s personal trainer, Bryant Johnson, dropped to the floor and did pushups.
UPDATE, 9/24/20, 11:15am ET: President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump were booed when they visited the Supreme Court to pay respects to Ruth Bader Ginsburg. As they approached her casket, a crowd of protesters loudly booed and yelled, “vote him out!” The Trumps left the Supreme Court shortly after the incident.
ORIGINAL: Washington, DC, honors a giant today as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is laid in repose at the Supreme Court. Ginsburg died at the age of 87 on September 18 after a battle with stage IV pancreatic cancer, and her loss is incalculable. As the nation continues to mourn this late feminist stalwart, the public were given a chance to say goodbye over two days at the place where she went to work every day, vowing to protect women’s rights, for 27 years.
Adhering to social distancing guidelines, mourners were allowed to pay their respects across the street from the Supreme Court as Ginsburg’s casket, draped with an American flag, was carried into the building by Supreme Court police officers. Supreme Court clerks, dressed in black and wearing black protective face masks, stood in silence, socially distanced, outside. Per American tradition, Ginsburg’s casket was placed upon the Lincoln catafalque, a platform constructed in 1865 to support the coffin of President Abraham Lincoln while he lay in repose at the US Capitol.
After her casket was placed, Ginsburg’s family paid their respects. They were surrounded by Ginsburg’s Supreme Court colleagues, who stood solemnly while wearing black face masks. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who, as a type 1 diabetic is at high risk for COVID-19, was wearing a full face shield. After a rabbi completed a religious ceremony, Chief Justice John G. Roberts spoke.
“It has been said that Ruth wanted to be an opera virtuoso, but became a rock star instead,” Roberts said, noting that likely because of Ginsburg’s influence, the majority of law students are now women. “I offer our heartfelt condolences on the loss of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. That loss is widely shared but we know that it falls most heavily on the family. Justice Ginsburg’s life was one of the many versions of the American dream,” he declared.
Roberts said that Ginsburg’s decisions were written with “unaffected grace of precision.” He added, “the voice in court and in our conference room was soft. But when she spoke, people listened. The Court was her family, too. This building was her home, too… Ruth is gone, and we grieve.”
The details of Ginsburg’s burial are to be determined, but it’s thought that the justice will be laid to rest next to her husband, Martin Ginsburg, at Arlington National Cemetery later in the week. A two-day public viewing is unprecedented for a Supreme Court Justice. Late Justices Antonin Scalia, William J. Brennan Jr., John Paul Stevens, and Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist all laid in repose for a single day at the Supreme Court; Justice Warren E. Burger was viewed for just 12 hours in 1995.
On Friday, September 25, Ginsburg will lie in state at the US Capitol. It’s a remarkable honor. Ginsburg is the first woman ever to lie in state at the Capitol; Rosa Parks laid in repose there after her death in 2005.