Ruth Bader Ginsburg to be first woman to lie in state at US Capitol
WASHINGTON – Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will make history Friday as she becomes the first woman and Jewish person to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol.
A ceremony in the National Statuary Hall will begin at 9:30 a.m. EDT and last through the afternoon, as Ginsburg’s family and members of Congress honor her legacy and 27 years on the high court.
The service will feature musical selections by American operatic soprano Denyce Graves, a friend of Ginsburg whom she saw perform many times, and a bipartisan group of female lawmakers in the House and Senate paying their respects. The event is not open to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since it was initially bestowed on Henry Clay in 1852, 34 men have received the honor of lying in state at the Capitol. Civil rights icon Rosa Parks was lain in “honor” at the Capitol Rotunda in 2005, but Ginsburg will be the first woman to lie in state. Her casket will be placed on the Lincoln Catafalque, which first supported President Abraham Lincoln’s casket in the U.S. Capitol after his assassination in 1865.
The last person to be given the honor was Georgia congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis, who died in July. Most of those who have lain in state were presidents, prominent members of Congress and military leaders. The only other Supreme Court justice to lie in state was William Howard Taft, who served as chief justice after his term as president.
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The ceremony at the U.S. Capitol follows two days of Ginsburg lying in repose across the street at the Supreme Court, where mourners lined for blocks to say goodbye to the liberal icon who died last week after a lengthy battle with cancer.
Ginsburg’s family, close friends, more than 100 former law clerks and colleagues on the high court gathered on Wednesday as her coffin was carried up the stairs to the Supreme Court’s Great Hall, just outside the courtroom where she served for nearly three decades.
And on Thursday, President Donald Trump paid his respects in a visit that led the quiet, sorrowful crowd to erupt in boos and chants.
“Vote him out!” some mourners called out, while others jeered “Honor her wish!” as Trump and first lady Melania Trump made their way to Ginsburg’s casket, both wearing black masks. The president and first lady stood expressionless at the late justice’s casket for less than a minute before heading back to the presidential motorcade.
Ginsburg’s last wish was that the next president fill her vacancy.
In the same building where she’ll be honored Friday, a partisan fight is brewing over filling her seat on the court, which could happen before the November election. Senate Republicans aim to move quickly to confirm Trump’s nominee, which he will announce Saturday.
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History maker:Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to lie in state at US Capitol Friday after two days at Supreme Court
Contributing: Richard Wolf and Deirdre Shesgreen