Ruth Ginsburg’s US flag-draped casket arrives at Supreme Court, thousands line up to pay last respects

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Washington: Thousands of people are expected to pay their respects at the Supreme Court here to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She was a women’s rights champion, leader of the court’s liberal bloc. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a feminist icon who died last week.

The court is closed to the public because of the coronavirus pandemic. The US capital is already consumed with talk of Ginsburg’s replacement. However, the justice’s former colleagues, family, close friends and the public will have the chance Wednesday and Thursday to pass by the casket of the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court.

Ginsburg’s flag-draped casket arrived at the court at 9.30am. It was carried into the court’s Great Hall, past her former law clerks who lined the steps. Inside, the court’s remaining eight justices were together for the first time since the building was closed in March.

Ginsburg will lie in repose for two days at the court where she served for 27 years. Before that she argued six cases for gender equality in the 1970s.

Nearly 200 members of the public had gathered to pay their respects by early morning, intermingling with dog walkers and joggers who cut through the crowd. At the front of the crowd were attorneys Cara Stewart and Jenny Beene-Skuban, who drove overnight from the Cincinnati area to be there.

“I felt like I had to be here,” said Stewart, a public-interest lawyer from Martin, Kentucky. “What moves me more is her career before the court. Using the courts for justice and being successful – that’s not easy to do,” Stewart added.

Beene-Skuban, of Cincinnati, said Ginsburg’s career blazed trails for women who came after her. “We’re here to recognise the shoulders we’re standing on,” she said.

Following a private ceremony Wednesday in the court’s Great Hall, Ginsburg’s casket will be moved outside the building. It will be placed at the top of the court’s front steps so that public mourners can pay their respects in line with public health guidance for the pandemic.

Since her death Friday evening, people have been leaving flowers, notes, placards and all manner of Ginsburg paraphernalia outside the court in tribute to the woman who became known in her final years as the ‘Notorious RBG’. Court workers cleared away the items and cleaned the court plaza and sidewalk in advance of Wednesday’s ceremony.

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