Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg returned to the Supreme Court for the final time Wednesday. The flag-draped casket of the 87-year-old justice was carried up the stairs to the Supreme Court’s Great Hall, just outside the courtroom, its entrance draped in black, where she served for 27 years.
It was a familiar scene at the high court, where current and former justices and clerks have mourned with families and friends twice before in just the past four years. Associate Justice Antonin Scalia was lain in repose there in 2016. Retired Associate Justice John Paul Stevens, who lived to be 99, received a similar honor last year.
After a short ceremony with brief speeches by Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt of Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, D.C., whose husband Ari is a former Ginsburg law clerk, and Chief Justice John Roberts, Ginsburg’s casket was placed at the front portico of the court for two days of public viewing, with appropriate social distancing to guard against the pandemic.
The public will have the chance to pay their respects from about 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday, and from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday, under the portico at the top of the courthouse steps.
Among those who visited were former president Bill Clinton, who nominated Ginsburg to the Supreme Court in 1993, and former secretary of state and U.S. senator Hillary Clinton. Many of those who traveled from throughout the nation waited more than 90 minutes to pass by the casket. The White House announced that Trump would pay his respects on Thursday.
Then the late justice will be moved across the street to the U.S. Capitol, where on Friday she will become the first woman to lie in state since the honor initially was bestowed on Henry Clay in 1852. At both locations, Ginsburg’s casket will rest on the Lincoln Catafalque, which first supported President Abraham Lincoln’s casket in the Capitol after his assassination in 1865.
A private interment service will be held next week at Arlington National Cemetery, where Ginsburg will join her late husband, Martin, who died in 2010.