Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a champion of gender equality, made history again on Friday as the first woman and the first Jewish person to lie in state in the U.S. Capitol.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris joined officials, lawmakers and the justice’s grieving family including her daughter Jane and son James in paying their respects to the legal pioneer and champion of women’s rights at the memorial service held by a female rabbi Friday morning.
Mourners gathered at the socially distanced ceremony in National Statuary Hall, where Ginsburg’s flag-draped casket lay encircled by sculptures of prominent Americans.
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 – including young girls – after a long legal career built on fighting for women’s rights.
Her family plans to hold a private burial next week at Arlington National Cemetery where she will be laid to rest next to her late husband Martin who died in 2010 after 56 years of marriage.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a champion of gender equality, made history again on Friday as the first woman and the first Jewish person to lie in state in the U.S. Capitol
Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt gave a moving reflection at the service speaking of the challenges Ginsburg faced and overcame as a woman in the male-dominated legal profession
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden paid their respects at Ginsburg’s flag-draped casket after the short service
U.S. Congresswomen pay their respects as the flag-draped casket of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Biden and running mate Kamala Harris joined officials, lawmakers and the justice’s grieving family in paying their respects to the legal pioneer and champion of women’s rights at the memorial service held by a female rabbi Friday morning
Vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris speaks with members of Congress and guests prior to the memorial service
The casket is carried through the rotunda to the Statuary Hall for the service in honor of the late judge
Denyce Graves sings as U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s flag-draped casket rests on the Lincoln catafalque in Statuary Hall
The icon’s flag-draped casket is carried up the steps to the Supreme Court where she served for 27 years
Sen. Tammy Duckworth saluted Ginsburg’s casket while wearing a face mask with white lace in a tribute to the justice’s iconic white lace and crochet collars
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke first at the private service, giving a moving introduction where she told of her ‘profound sorrow’ at the liberal icon’s passing
Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren was one of many members of Congress attending the service
General Mark Miller, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, bows his head in respect to the late justice
Ginsburg was only the second woman to serve as a Supreme Court Justice
The service began at 10 a.m. with a joint services military honor guard carrying Ginsburg’s flag-draped casket up the steps of the Supreme Court and into the hall.
The officer leading the honor guard was a woman, a fitting tribute to the justice who championed women’s rights and equality throughout her career.
The casket was placed on the Lincoln catafalque in Statuary Hall alongside a portrait of Ginsburg and two wreaths, one reading House of Representatives and the other reading United States Senate, in blue, white and red flowers – the colors of the American flag.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke first at the private service, giving a moving introduction where she told of her ‘profound sorrow’ at the liberal icon’s passing.
‘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,’ she said.
‘She does so on a catafalque built for Abraham Lincoln. May she rest in peace.’
Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt of Adas Israel Congregation in Washington then gave an emotional reflection on the life of Ginsburg, speaking of the challenges she faced as a woman trying to break into a male-dominated profession.
‘I get out of law school with top grades, and no law firm in the city of New York will hire me,’ she quoted Ginsburg as saying one time.
Hotlzblatt, whose husband clerked for Ginsburg from 2014 to 2015, told how the justice overcome these challenges to rise to the highest court in the land.
‘Justice did not arrive like a lightening bolt, but rather through dogged persistence, all the days of her life.
‘Real change, she said, enduring change, happens one step at a time.’
She added: ‘As a lawyer, she won equality for women and men — not in one swift victory, but brick by brick, case by case, through meticulous, careful lawyering.’
The casket is draped in a flag while a portrait of Ginsburg and two wreaths, one reading House of Representatives and the other reading United States Senate, in blue, white and red flowers – the colors of the American flag
Friends and family await the arrival of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg outside the court Friday
Joe and Jill Biden, dressed in black clothing and face masks, bow their heads and take a moment to pay tribute to Ginsburg
Mourners gathered at the socially distanced ceremony in National Statuary Hall, where Ginsburg’s flag-draped casket lay encircled by sculptures of prominent Americans
Biden pays his respects at Friday’s service. Ginsburg, a stalwart liberal on the high court since 1993, died last Friday at age 87
The casket is carried by procession into the hall soon after 10 a.m. for the memorial service ahead of a private family burial next week
Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt of Adas Israel Congregation in Washington gave an emotional reflection. ‘Real change, she said, enduring change, happens one step at a time,’ she said
Music was provided by Denyce Graves, the mezzo-soprano and Ginsburg’s friend (pictured), and pianist Laura Ward who paid tribute to the justice with the songs ‘Deep River’ and ‘American Anthem’
Grieving family members watch as the flag-draped casket of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is carried by a joint services military honor guard to lie in state
Rep. Eric Swalwell holds his daughter who clutches a children’s book on Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the service
Visitors, some with strollers, walk into Statuary Hall to pay respect to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg
Rep. Luis Correa of California takes a photo as he pays respects at the flag-draped casket lying in state
Holtzblatt pointed out how Ginsburg was making history as the ‘first woman and first Jewish woman to lie in state’ – the latest in a long line of firsts for the justice – and urged people to be inspired by the justice’s ‘strength.’
‘Even as our hearts are breaking, we must rise with her strength and move forward. She was our prophet, our north star, our strength for so very long,’ she said.
Music was provided by Denyce Graves, the mezzo-soprano and Ginsburg’s friend, and pianist Laura Ward who paid tribute to the justice with the songs ‘Deep River’ and ‘American Anthem’.
The beautiful, uplifting songs harked to Ginsburg’s love of opera while the words ‘America, America I give my best to you’ in ‘American Anthem’ were a fitting tribute to her decades of service to the nation.
Mourners including Ginsburg’s family members then approached the casket in turns to take a moment to pay their respects to the late icon.
Pelosi and Chuck Schumer approached Ginsburg’s casket and bowed their heads, with Pelosi doing the sign of the cross.
General Mark Miller, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Defense Secretary Mark Esper also paid their respects at the service.
Female members of Congress leave the ceremony after paying their respects to Ginsburg
US Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer shares an elbow bump with a guest following the service
Ginsburg’s casket is carried down the steps of the Supreme Court flanked by mourners following the service
Family members stand as they wait to watch the flag-draped casket of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg being carried by a joint services military honor guard after Ginsburg lied in state at the U.S. Capitol
An armed services body bearer team carries Ginsburg’s casket into the Statutory hall
The casket reaches the bottom of the steps following the service where Nancy Pelosi paid tribute to Ginsburg
Joe and Jill Biden, dressed in black clothing and face masks, were also seen at the casket bowing their heads.
Biden said he had ‘wonderful memories’ of Ginsburg as he left the ceremony.
‘It was like when I met her when I did her hearing. I was the chairman of the committee when she was confirmed,’ he said. ‘Wonderful memories.’
Bryant Johnson, Ginsburg’s personal trainer, gave a personal tribute when he did three push-ups in front of her casket in her honor.
Ginsburg was a fitness enthusiast and worked out at the Supreme Court even after gyms shut down due to coronavirus and as she battled cancer.
Representative Eric Swalwell brought along his young daughter Kathryn as they paid their respects
US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper arriving to pay his respects as Ginsburg lay in state at National Statuary Hall
Female members of Congress line the steps and watch the iconic Supreme Court Justice being carried out of the capitol
Schumer, who has called for Ginsburg’s dying wish not to be replaced until after the November election to be respected, leaves the service Friday
Senators Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris were among other members of Congress who attended the moving service, where several people wiped tears from their eyes.
Senator Tammy Duckworth saluted Ginsburg’s casket while wearing a face mask with white lace in a tribute to the justice’s iconic white lace and crochet collars.
Harris spoke briefly after the service crediting Ginsburg for paving the way for her to also pursue her career.
‘Because she first of all made America see what leadership looks like and in the law, in terms of public service and she broke so many barriers and I know she did it intentionally knowing that people like me could follow,’ she said.
‘I was just with her family so at this point I’m really just reflecting on… All that she stood for.
‘I think it’s actually really it’s very important I think that in the midst of being 39 days away from the election that we honor one of the greatest Americans, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in terms of all that she did, all that she inspired, all that she empowered both legally and just in terms of the way she lived her life.’
Ginsburg’s casket was then carried down the steps of the Supreme Court after the ceremony by the honor guard as female members of Congress and lawmakers flanked the steps in her honor.
She left the Capitol for her final journey to Arlington National Cemetery where she will be buried.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was among those who visited to pay their respects to the justice Friday
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arriving for the ceremony where she paid tribute to the legal pioneer
A seat reserved for Joe Biden for the moving ceremony that topped off a week of tributes to the justice
A portrait of the late justice in her black robes and signature collar is displayed at the socially distanced ceremony
With the U.S. Supreme Court building in the background, the flag-draped casket of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is carried by a joint services military honor guard to lie in state
Mourners paid their respects sitting six foot apart in the hall facing the casket of the iconic justice
Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris talks with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand ahead of the service
Notably absent were Senator Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy who, despite being invited and most other Congress members attending, chose not to pay their respects.
Donald Trump was also not in attendance however he visited Ginsburg’s casket alongside First Lady Melania Trump Thursday as the justice lay in repose under the Portico of the high court for two days this week.
Trump was greeted by boos from crowds Thursday with several people heard shouting ‘honor her wish’ and ‘vote him out’ as he stood at the top of the steps with his head bowed and face covered by a mask.
Ginsburg said her ‘most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed’ in the days leading up to her death Friday.
However Trump has vowed to plow ahead with appointing her replacement for the Supreme Court seat in a move that has sparked fierce debate, with many Democrats – as well as some Republicans – insisting the seat must not be filled until after the election.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Ginsburg’s admirers have had to pay their respects outdoors at her coffin for two days of public viewing under the Supreme Court’s soaring portico.
The Capitol ceremony on Friday morning was also limited to invited guests because of concerns about the virus.
Biden is seen reading the order of service ahead of the memorial for the legal pioneer and champion of women’s rights
The service began with a joint services military honor guard carrying Ginsburg’s flag-draped casket up the steps of the Supreme Court and into the hall
Kamala Harris is seen at the ceremony where people gathered to pay respects to the late justice
The historical paying of respects, inside the Capitol’s Statuary Hall, was expected to provide a final unifying moment celebrating Ginsburg’s life and achievements before the coming battle over filling her seat.
The honor of lying in state has been accorded fewer than three dozen times, mostly to presidents, vice-presidents and members of Congress.
John Lewis, the civil rights icon, was the most recent person to lie in state after his death in July.
Henry Clay, the Kentucky politician who served as Speaker of the House and also was a senator, was the first back in 1852.
A pioneer until the end, Ginsburg is the first woman and Jewish woman given the honor, which was arranged by Pelosi.
Pelosi spoke of the honor her weekly news conference on Thursday.
‘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,’ she said.
‘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.’
The House Speaker released a statement on Ginsburg’s lying in state.
‘On behalf of the United States Congress, it is my sad honor to welcome so many who loved Justice Ginsburg to this celebration of her life here in the United States Capitol,’ it read.
‘Ruth Bader Ginsburg: petite in size, monumental in impact. Justice Ginsburg embodied justice, brilliance and goodness. Her passing is an incalculable loss for our democracy and for all who strive to build a better future for our children.
‘Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an icon, whose towering intellect, tenacity and devotion to our nation’s Founding ideals of equality and justice inspired millions around the world. We see that appreciation reflected in the countless letters, flowers and tributes that blanketed the front of the Supreme Court after her passing: an extraordinary outpouring of love and support from Americans from across the country.’
Rosa Parks is the only other woman who has lain at the Capitol but, because she was a private citizen, not a government official, she lay ‘in honor’.
A statue of Parks, placed in 2013, will overlook Ginsburg’s casket during the ceremony.
The lying in state usually occurs in the Capitol Rotunda, between the House and Senate, but Ginsburg is lying in the National Statuary Hall on the House side of the Capitol.
It is not clear why this is the case but the Democrats are in control of the House side of the Capitol while both chambers must agree and pass special legislation to allow someone to lie in the Rotunda.
The private ceremony at the Capitol brought to a close a week of public memorials for Ginsburg, as her body lay in repose on the Supreme Court steps on Wednesday and Thursday for politicians, family members and the general public to visit and pay their respects to the liberal jurist.
Crowds of mourners have flocked to the U.S. Supreme Court since Ginsburg’s death was announced last Friday, standing vigil and leaving flowers and signs.
A memorial was held at the court Wednesday which was also eulogized by Holtzblatt.
Statuary Hall was prepared for the ceremony by Thursday afternoon. Thick black ribbons were affixed to the colossal marble columns around the room’s perimeter, surrounding the area where a catafalque was to hold Ginsburg’s flag-draped coffin.
A worker cleans steps prior to the arrival of the casket of late Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer await the arrival of the casket at the steps of the court
A Supreme Court Honor Guard salutes before moving the flag-draped casket of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg back into the court as Ginsburg lies in repose under the Portico at the top of the front steps of the U.S. Supreme Court building on Thursday
A program for the service of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is shown at the U.S. Capitol Friday morning
The Bidens travel to Washington, DC, to attend the ceremony for US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris talks with members of Congress and guests prior to the service
Final preparations being made in Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol in Washington Friday morning
President Donald Trump has said he will announce his nominee to succeed Ginsburg at the White House on Saturday – a move that many Democrats and some Republicans have slammed.
The crux of the debate centers around the move made by Republicans back in 2016 – and led by McConnell – to block then-President Barack Obama from appointing a new justice to the court nine months before the election.
Their argument at the time was that the position should not be filled until a new president was elected by the American people – a standard set by the Republicans that the Democrats now argue the party must continue to honor.
The leading contenders all are expected to take a dramatically different view of abortion rights and other issues – and would likely rule on Obamacare immediately after the election, in a case that could strike down the health law Ginsburg voted to uphold.
RBG’s personal trainer of 20 years performs three push-ups in front of her casket in tribute to the Supreme Court Justice and fitness enthusiast
Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s personal trainer of 21 years performed three push-ups in front of her casket in tribute to the Supreme Court Justice and fitness enthusiast as she lay in state in the US Capitol Friday.
Bryant Johnson, who helped her stay fit and active even during her bouts of cancer, was seen dropping to the ground in the Statuary Hall inside the Supreme Court and doing the exercises during the memorial service Friday morning.
Johnson, 55, approached Ginsburg’s casket following the short service where House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told of her ‘profound sorrow’ at the liberal icon’s passing and Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt gave an emotional reflection on the challenges Ginsburg faced and overcame as a woman trying to break into the male-dominated legal profession.
The personal trainer, wearing a face mask and clutching the order of service for the ceremony, walked to the casket which was placed on the Lincoln catafalque alongside a portrait of Ginsburg and two wreaths in the colors of the American flag.
He took a moment to pay his respects to his former workout buddy before he did the push-ups on the floor of the hall.
The justice once referred to Johnson, a 30-year army veteran, as a ‘very important part of my life’ while he described her as ‘awesome’, ‘remarkable’ and someone who never uttered the word ‘can’t’.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s personal trainer of 21 years performed three push-ups in front of her casket in tribute to the Supreme Court Justice and fitness enthusiast as she lay in state in the US Capitol Friday
Bryant Johnson, who helped her stay fit and active even during her bouts of cancer, was seen dropping to the ground in the Statuary Hall inside the Supreme Court and doing the exercises during the memorial service Friday morning
Johnson has put Ginsburg through her paces in the gym for more than two decades, after they first teamed up back in 1999 when she was being treated for colorectal cancer at the age of 66.
Ginsburg said her husband told her she looked ‘like a survivor of a concentration camp’ after battling the illness and inspired her to do something to get fit.
The pair were introduced by another judge and committed to working out twice a week ever since.
Ginsburg became known for her fitness regime including push-ups, planks and squats and often promoted the benefits of taking care of her body.
They would often work out at the court gym after a day’s work while ‘PBS NewsHour’ played in the background.
The justice (pictured working out with Johnson) once referred to Johnson, a 30-year army veteran, as a ‘very important part of my life’
He described her as ‘awesome’, ‘remarkable’ and someone who never uttered the word ‘can’t’
Johnson helped RBG stay fit and healthy when she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2009.
In 2014, Ginsburg fell ill during a workout session and she was taken to hospital and had a stent implanted in her heart.
She returned to the gym soon after and, in 2017, Johnson released a book inspired by the fitness enthusiast called ‘The RBG Workout: How She Stays Strong… and You Can Too!’
He said at the time he hoped the book would show people ‘you’re never too old to do something.’
It goes through the grueling hour-long workout RBG did, alongside illustrations of the justice doing the exercises.
They then appeared in a segment with Late night show host Stephen Colbert in 2018.
The duo carried on working out this year, despite being faced with the shuttering of the Supreme Court gym amid the coronavirus pandemic and the return of her pancreatic cancer.
Johnson has also trained two other liberal justices, Justice Elena Kagan and Justice Stephen Breyer.
Ginsburg became known for her fitness regime including push-ups, planks and squats and would often work out at the court gym after a day’s work while ‘PBS NewsHour’ played in the background
They appeared in a segment with Late night show host Stephen Colbert in 2018
RBG with Colbert. She carried on working out this year, despite being faced with the shuttering of the Supreme Court gym amid the pandemic and the return of her cancer