Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes History One Last Time as Joe Biden, Kamala Harris Pay Their Respects
Ruth Bader Ginsburg became the first woman and first Jewish person to lie in state
Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, paid their respects to the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last Friday from complications of metastatic cancer.
On Friday morning, a military honor guard carried Ginsburg's flag-draped casket up the marble steps of the U.S. Capitol and into Statuary Hall, where she became the first woman and first Jewish person in American history to lie in state.
Ginsburg is among 38 people (12 of whom were U.S. Presidents) who have been given the honor since 1852, according to CNN.
The mood was somber in Statuary Hall, where black bands wrapped around every column and mourners were seen wiping away tears over the loss of the liberal icon.
"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 does so on a catafalque built for Abraham Lincoln. May she rest in peace," said Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
Among those at this morning's private service were former vice president Biden, 77, and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, who entered the room before the hearse arrived, exchanging a few waves before taking their seats — six feet apart from other mourners, in accordance with coronavirus mandates.
Also in attendance was Harris, 55 — seated on the opposite side of Statuary Hall, along with other senators and House members who quietly mingled before the arrival of the hearse, according to a pool report. Harris and the Bidens were seen gathered together before the ceremony began.
The Bidens, Harris, Pelosi, Senator Chuck Schumer and most other lawmakers present placed their hands on their hearts as the casket was brought in.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Tammy Duckworth were also seen paying their respects.
Later in the ceremony, Biden could be seen nodding his head in agreement during a speech by Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt, who touched on the path Ginsburg had forged for both women and men alike.
"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," said Holtzblatt.
The ceremony also included a performance by operatic soprano Denyce Graves — a fitting tribute to Ginsburg, who was an avid fan of the opera.
In a statement released shortly after the announcement of Ginsburg's death, Biden recalled presiding over her 1993 confirmation hearing, saying that she "practiced the highest American ideals as Justice" and "stood for all of us."
"It's hard to believe it was my honor to preside over her confirmation hearing," Biden said. "In the decades since, she has been absolutely consistent and reliable and a voice for freedom and opportunity for everyone."
On Thursday, President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump visited Ginsburg's casket, which lay in repose outside the Supreme Court building for two days before being transported to the Capitol. The first couple was met with a chorus of boos and loud chants of "Vote him out!" as they paid their respects.
On Saturday, the president plans to announce a conservative replacement for Ginsburg, whose dying wish was that she not be replaced before a new administration took office.