Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died Friday from complications of metastatic cancer at the age of 87

By Sean Neumann
September 21, 2020 03:08 PM
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Ruth Bader Ginsburg will lie in repose for three days of public viewings around Washington, D.C., this week, making her the first woman and the first Jewish person to lie in state at the Capitol building.

The late, liberal icon and revered Supreme Court Justice died last Friday from complications of metastatic cancer at the age of 87.

She was surrounded by family when she passed away at her Washington home, according to a Supreme Court statement announcing her death.

The Supreme Court said Monday that Ginsburg will lie in repose on the top steps of the U.S. Supreme Court building on Wednesday and Thursday, following a private ceremony attended by family, close friends and other members of the Supreme Court in the building's Great Hall.

"The public is invited to pay respects in front of the Building from approximately 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. on Wednesday, September 23, and from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. on Thursday, September 24," the Court said.

Ginsburg's former law clerks will serve as the honorary pallbearers, according to the Supreme Court's announcement. They will line the front steps of the building, as her casket arrives.

The justice will be laid on the Lincoln Catafalque — which was once used for President Abraham Lincoln's coffin — while a 2016 portrait of Ginsburg by Constance P. Beaty will be displayed inside the Great Hall.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also announced that Ginsburg would lie in repose inside the National Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol building on Friday.

“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, 80, said. "Her opinions have unequivocally cemented the precedent that all men and women are created equal.”

The Court says Ginsburg will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery the following week.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post/Getty
Mourners at the Supreme Court honoring Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Saturday
Evelyn Hockstein/For The Washington Post via Getty Images; Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic threw some hiccups into the plans to honor the late Justice.

Ginsburg would've lied in repose inside the Supreme Court's Great Hall, but social distancing restrictions have closed off the inside of the building to the public.

Friday's viewing at the U.S. Capitol will also only be available to invited guests because of the pandemic restrictions, Pelosi announced Monday.

A young child paying their respects to Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Sonal Dutt

Hundreds already gathered on the steps of the Supreme Court this weekend, after news broke of Ginsburg's death Friday night.

Mourners filled the Supreme Court's front steps with bouquets and handwritten signs, thanking Ginsburg for “taking care of our daughters” and proclaiming that “not all heroes wear capes.”

She was holding on for us, she never could rest,” Dean Howarth, a 55-year-old teacher from Arlington, Virginia, told PEOPLE, before bursting into tears at the memorial.

“It felt like I had to be here, to mourn and celebrate her with people who loved and admired her too," Laila Chen, a 35-year-old doctor from Manhattan, told PEOPLE. Chen brought along her young daughter Lucy to the site to pay their respects to the late justice "at the place where she did so much good and changed the world for women and people of color and gay and lesbian citizens."

“I needed to stand in front of this building and say thank you," Chen said.