Public viewing at Supreme Court to honor Ginsburg before justice lies in state at US Capitol

People gather at the Supreme Court on the morning after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 87, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020 in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The body of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will lie in repose at the Supreme Court for two days of public viewing this week, before the late justice lies in state at the U.S. Capitol, becoming the first woman to be honored with that ceremony.

Ginsburg, only the second woman on the highest court, who served for more than 27 years, died Friday at 87.

Ginsburg will lie in repose at the Supreme Court on Wednesday and Thursday, the Supreme Court announced Monday.

Following a private ceremony at the court Wednesday morning, a public outdoor viewing will take place under the portico at the top of the front steps of the Supreme Court building.

Members of the public are invited to pay their respects to the late justice in front of the building from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. on Wednesday and from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. on Thursday.

The Supreme Court also announced some details about the private ceremony that will precede the public viewing.

The casket is set to arrive in front of the court just before 9:30 a.m. Wednesday for the private ceremony in the court’s Great Hall. Ginsburg’s former law clerks will line the steps of the court building as honorary pallbearers, and Supreme Court police officers will serve as pallbearers.

The casket will be placed on the Lincoln Catafalque, a wooden platform draped in black cloth, that was built to hold Lincoln’s casket after his assassination in 1865. The platform was also used for the 2016 service for Justice Antonin Scalia.

A portrait of Ginsburg by Constance P. Beaty will be on display in the Great Hall.

The private ceremony at the court will be attended by Ginsburg’s family, close friends and the other eight justices.

Lying in state at U.S. Capitol

Following the Supreme Court viewing, Ginsburg will lie in state in the Capitol’s National Statuary Hall for a formal ceremony, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Monday. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremony will be open to invited guests only.

“Justice Ginsburg embodied justice, brilliance and goodness, and her passing is an incalculable loss for our democracy and for all who sacrifice and strive to build a better future for our children,” Pelosi said in a statement.

Ginsburg will be only the second Supreme Court justice to lie in state at the Capitol and the first woman. William Howard Taft, who had served as both chief justice of the court and as president, lay in state in 1930. Civil rights icon Rosa Parks lay in honor in the rotunda of the Capitol in 2005.

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

Jack Moore

Jack Moore joined as a digital writer/editor in July 2016. Previous to his current role, he covered federal government management and technology as the news editor at, part of Government Executive Media Group.

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