Justices Meet for First Time in 6 Months—to Mourn

Thousands of others will pay their respects to Ruth Bader Ginsburg in DC
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 23, 2020 2:20 PM CDT
SCOTUS Justices Gather to Mourn RBG
Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts, second from right, and Justice Elena Kagan, right, watch as the flag-draped casket of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg arrives at the Supreme Court in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)

With crowds of admirers swelling outside, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was remembered Wednesday at the court by grieving family, colleagues, and friends as a prophet for justice who persevered against long odds to become an American icon. The court’s eight justices, masked along with everyone else because of the coronavirus pandemic, gathered for the first time in more than six months for the ceremony to mark Ginsburg’s death from cancer last week at age 87 after 27 years on the court. Washington already is consumed with talk of Ginsburg’s replacement, but Chief Justice John Roberts focused on his longtime colleague, the AP reports. The best words to describe Ginsburg are “tough, brave, a fighter, a winner," Roberts said, but also “thoughtful, careful, compassionate, honest.”

Ginsburg’s two children, Jane and James, and other family members sat on one side of the casket, across from the justices. With her portrait on display nearby, Ginsburg's flag-draped casket sat in the court's Great Hall for the private service before it was moved outside so the public could honor her Wednesday and Thursday. Health precautions because of the pandemic led the court to limit the number of people inside the building, which has been closed to the public since March. Thousands of people are expected to pay their respects to the women’s rights champion and leader of the court’s liberal bloc. Her casket, carried inside past her former law clerks who lined the courthouse steps, is to be on public view until 10pm Wednesday and 9am to 10pm Thursday.

(More Ruth Bader Ginsburg stories.)

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