Late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who passed away last week, laid in repose in the SCOTUS on Wednesday and Thursday. The memorial was the start of three days of events offering the public a chance to pay their respects to the icon. Ginsburg’s presence makes her the first woman, and the second Supreme Court Justice, to lie in state in the Capitol.
“Subjected to discrimination in law school and the job market because she was a woman, Ruth would grow to become a leading advocate fighting such discrimination in court,” noted Chief Supreme Court Justice John Roberts. “She was not an opera star, but she found her stage right behind me, in our courtroom. There, she won famous victories that helped move our nation closer to equal justice under law, to the extent that women are now a majority in the law schools, not simply a handful.”
The line for the public to view the late Justice was steady, wrapping all the way to the back of the Supreme Court — even zig-zagging to create more space. Former President Bill Clinton, who nominated Ginsburg to the SCOTUS in 1993, paid his respects along with former Secretary of State and first lady Hillary Clinton.
After the ceremony was finished, Ginsburg’s casket was moved to outside the front of the Supreme Court to allow members of the public to pay their respects distantly in accordance with COVID-19 restrictions.
“Justice Ginsburg’s life was one of the many versions of the American dream,” said Chief Justice Roberts. “Her father was an immigrant from Odessa. Her mother was born four months after her family arrived from Poland. Her mother later worked as a bookkeeper in Brooklyn. Ruth used to ask, ‘What is the difference in a bookkeeper in Brooklyn and a Supreme Court justice?’ Her answer: one generation.”