Ruth Bader Ginsburg first woman to lie in state in the US Capitol
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a champion of gender equality, made history again as the first woman and the first Jewish person to lie in state in the US Capitol, encircled by images of prominent Americans.
Justice Ginsburg, a stalwart liberal on the high court since 1993, died last Friday at age 87.
Known simply as RBG, she was an icon to millions of Americans — especially young girls — after a long legal career built on fighting for gender equality.
Female members of Congress, Democrats as well as Republicans, planned to gather on the Capitol steps to pay their respects after a formal memorial ceremony in National Statuary Hall, where Justice Ginsburg’s coffin was brought Friday morning (local time.
“We have a lot of cause for … observance of a historic time, for a historic woman who did more for the equality of women than anybody in our history,” House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters on Thursday.
“Her passing is like a death in so many families in our country because so many people pinned their hopes, heeded her guidance, admired her stamina, her love of the arts, bringing civility to her relationships in the court and in the country,” Ms Pelosi said.
Civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks was also mourned at the Capitol in 2005, but as a private citizen she lay “in honour,” not “in state”.
A statue of Ms Parks, placed in 2013, will overlook Justice Ginsburg’s casket during the ceremony.
Thousands of mourners flocked to the Supreme Court after Justice Ginsburg’s death was announced, standing vigil and leaving flowers and signs.
President Donald Trump, who is seeking re-election on November 3, was met with boos and jeers of “Vote Him Out” by a nearby crowd as he visited Justice Ginsburg’s flag-draped coffin outside the Supreme Court on Thursday.
Just down a hallway from Statuary Hall, Mr Trump’s fellow Republicans — who narrowly control the Senate — have pledged to confirm his as-yet-unidentified nominee to replace Justice Ginsburg within the next few weeks, angering Democrats who feel he should wait until after the election.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who presided over Justice Ginsburg’s confirmation hearings as a senator in 1993, was to be among those at the Capitol for Friday’s ceremony.
He has called for Republicans to honour her last wishes and not consider a nominee until after the presidential election.