The late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s flag-draped coffin was placed outside the Supreme Court building on Wednesday as the United States began three days of tributes to the liberal icon.
Hundreds of mourners lined up outside the court for a chance to pay their respects to the pioneering women’s rights advocate, who died on Friday at age 87. Inside the court, Ginsburg’s fellow justices celebrated her life in a private ceremony. Chief Justice John Roberts said, “Her voice in court and in our conference room was soft. But when she spoke, people listened.”
Ginsburg’s casket was then moved under the court building’s massive columns for a public viewing due to last two days. On Friday, Ginsburg will become the first woman to lie in state in the U.S. Capitol when her casket is placed in National Statuary Hall. Both historic events for Ginsburg will come with modifications due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Capitol ceremony will be limited to invited guests only, and social distancing and face coverings will be required at the courthouse. Flowers and other offerings are forbidden on the court’s plaza or its steps.
The courthouse ia closed to the public and the justices are due to hear oral arguments by teleconference next month. Ginsburg’s courtroom chair and the bench in front of it were draped with black wool crepe to mark the occasion, a tradition that dates back at least to 1873. A black drape also hung over the courtroom doors.
Public viewing runs until 10 p.m. on Wednesday and between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. on Thursday. A private interment service is planned for next week at Arlington National Cemetery. Ginsburg’s husband, Martin Ginsburg, was buried there in 2010.
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