Justice Ginsburg becomes first woman to lie in state at the Capitol

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Justice Ginsburg becomes first woman to lie in state at the Capitol

WASHINGTON — Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg became the first woman and first Jewish person ever to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol as she was honored on Friday.

Former Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, are among those paying their respects. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Biden’s vice presidential nominee, also plans to stop by on Friday.

Lawmakers are holding a formal ceremony for Ginsburg in National Statuary Hall inside the Capitol after her casket arrived on the plaza outside just after 9:45 a.m.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is participating in the arrival ceremony, which includes a reflection by Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt, a rabbi at the conservative D.C., synagogue Adas Israel who recited prayers during the ceremony inside the Supreme Court on Wednesday. There are also two musical selections by American operatic soprano Denyce Graves, who will be accompanied by pianist Laura Ward.

Pelosi’s office said earlier this week that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremony is open to invited guests only.

A formal departure ceremony will begin as Ginsburg’s casket leaves the Capitol around 12:30 p.m.

Ginsburg is the first woman and first Jewish person to ever lie in state at the Capitol, according to historical records. The civil rights activist Rosa Parks was the first woman to lie in honor, which is the designation for non-office-holding citizens and former office holders.

According to the Architect of the Capitol, Ginsburg is only the second Supreme Court justice to lie in state at the Capitol. The other one was William Howard Taft, who was not only the chief justice but also a former president.

Ginsburg died last Friday at the age of 87 at her home in Washington, D.C., after complications from pancreatic cancer. She was the second woman justice on the high court and served for more than 27 years.

She lay in repose at the Supreme Court on Wednesday and Thursday where mourners spanning multiple generations gathered to celebrate the feminist icon. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump visited the casket on the top of the Supreme Court’s front steps Thursday, where he was booed and greeted by chants of “vote him out.”

A private interment service will be held for Ginsburg at Arlington National Cemetery next week.

Image: Rebecca ShabadRebecca Shabad

Rebecca Shabad is a congressional reporter for NBC News, based in Washington.

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