Chief Justice John Roberts described the words of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg as “tough, brave, combative, victorious”, but “thoughtful, careful, kind, and honest.”
Roberts spoke Wednesday at a private event in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court. After the ceremony, a casket covered with Ginsberg’s flag was placed on the stairs in front of the court, where people paid tribute to the second woman who served on the Supreme Court in line with the public health guidelines for the coronavirus epidemic.
Thousands of people are expected to pay tribute throughout the day to the champion of women’s rights, the leader of the Court Liberal Bloc and the feminist icon who died at 87 last week.
“Her voice was soft on the court and in our conference room, but people heard her speak,” Roberts said.
Her 483 views were written “with kindness unaffected by accuracy.”
“In fact she lives by the law and what she did to improve the lives of all of us, yet Ruth is gone, and we mourn.”
The coffin, covered with Ginsburg’s flag, reached the courthouse at 9:30 a.m. and was carried into the Great Hall of the Court, where she stepped past the former law clerks.
Inside, the court’s eight other judges, all masked, were together for the first time since the building closed in March and they resorted to meetings by telephone. Due to the epidemic, the judges’ chairs were separated.
Ginsburg is retiring for two days in court, where she has served for 27 years, and has previously argued six cases for gender equality in the 1970s. The Ginsburg Box will be in public view Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Nearly 500 people paid tribute Wednesday morning.
Trump wanted to pay tribute
Since her death on Friday evening, people have been leaving flowers, banknotes, placards and all sorts of Ginsburg equipment outside the court as a tribute to the woman who has been dubbed the “Notorious RBG” for years. Brooklyn rapper Biggy Smalls. Prior to Wednesday’s ceremony, court workers cleared objects and cleaned the court plaza and sidewalks.
The entrance to the courthouse, the Ginsburg chair and the space on the bench next to Roberts are covered in black, a long-standing court custom. These visual signs of grief, which have strengthened the sense of loss in recent years, will not be seen much this year.
The court will begin its new term on October 5, but the judges will not be in the courtroom and will hear arguments over the phone instead.
The White House says U.S. President Donald Trump will pay tribute to Ginsburg in the Supreme Court on Thursday.
WATCH l Ruth Bader on Ginsburg life and heritage:
On Friday, Ginsburg will be in the state at Capitol, the first woman to do so and only the second Supreme Court justice after William Howard Taft. Taft is also president. Rosa Parks, a private citizen against a government official, is the only woman to be honored at the Capitol.
Ginsburg will be buried next to her husband Martin at a private ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery next week. Martin Ginsburg died in 2010. She has a son and daughter, four grandchildren, two step-grandchildren and a great-grandson.
Death redesigns the election race
Ginsberg’s death from cancer at the age of 87 has already caused another upheaval for a chaotic election year. Trump and Senate Republicans are moving forward with plans to do new justice on the bench, perhaps before the November 3 election.
Listen to the Ginsburg space to change the future for the court:
Only Chief Justice Roger Tani, who died in October 1864, died close to the presidential election. Lincoln waited until December to nominate Salmon Chase in his place, which was confirmed the same day.
After the untimely death of Antonin Scalia, Ginsburg’s closest confidante in court, Republicans refused to take action on then – President Barack Obama’s High Court nomination of Judge Merrick Garland.