The late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made history in death as she did in life when she was honored Friday as the first woman to lie in state at the US Capitol.
Dignitaries filed into Statuary Hall to honor Ginsburg, who died Sept. 18 from complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer, in the final official ceremony before she’s laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.
“Justice did not arrive like a lightning bolt, but rather through dogged persistence,” Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt said of the late justice during her reflection. “All the days of her life she pursued justice.” Holtzblatt urged “we the people” to carry on Ginsburg’s legacy.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi opened the service, saying “It is with profound sorrow and deep sympathy to the Ginsburg family that I have the high honor to welcome Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to lie in state in the Capitol of the United States.”
Among the public officials, friends and relatives attending was former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, and his running mate, Kamala Harris. President Donald Trump paid his respects on Thursday at the Supreme Court, where Ginsburg was lying in repose for two days.
“I first met her when I did her hearings. I was the chairman of the committee and she was confirmed. Wonderful memories,” Biden told reporters while walking out from the service.
Ginsburg’s remains laid on the same catafalque built in 1865 for President Abraham Lincoln’s body, “appropriate for her and her fight for equality in our country,” Pelosi said Friday morning on CBS before the service.
Two musical selections were performed by the American mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves, a Washington native: the spiritual “Deep River,” and Gene Scheer’s “American Anthem.” After Graves’ second performance those in attendance were able to pay their respects to Ginsburg before the end of the service.
The service ended with bipartisan female members of the House and Senate paying tribute to Ginsburg, who was known for her devotion to advancing the rights of women.
The late justice will be buried at Arlington next to her husband, attorney Martin Ginsburg, who died in 2010.
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