Washington, Sep 23 (efe-epa).- Hundreds gathered Wednesday outside the US Supreme Court in Washington to bid farewell to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last week at the age of 87.
The flag-draped casket holding her remains was placed under the portico at the top of the steps of the Supreme Court Building, located across the street from the United States Capitol, where it will remain for two days.
On Friday, the trail-blazing jurist will make history when she becomes the first woman to lie in state in the Capitol.
(Civil rights icon Rosa Parks, who never held a public post, lay “in honor” in the Capitol Rotunda in 2005)
The casket was moved under the portico after a brief private memorial service in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court Building that was limited to Ginsburg’s family, close friends and the eight other justices.
“To be born into a world that does not see you, that does not believe in your potential, that does not give you a path for opportunity or a clear path for education, and despite this, to be able to see beyond the world you are in, to imagine that something can be different – that is the job of a prophet,” Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt said.
“And it is the rare prophet who not only imagines a new world, but also makes that new world a reality in her lifetime. This was the brilliance and vision of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” the rabbi said.
In his remarks, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts described his late colleague as a champion of gender equality.
Recalling that Ginsburg embarked on a legal career after abandoning her original ambition of becoming an opera singer, Roberts said, “subjected to discrimination in law school and the job market because she was a woman, Ruth would grow to become the leading advocate fighting such discrimination in court.”
The chief justice called Ginsburg’s life “one of the many versions of the American dream.”
“Her father was an immigrant from Odessa. Her mother was born four months after her family arrived from Poland. Her mother later worked as a bookkeeper in Brooklyn. Ruth used to ask what is the difference in a bookkeeper in Brooklyn and a Supreme Court justice. Her answer: one generation,” Roberts said.
President Donald Trump is expected to come to the Supreme Court Building on Thursday to pay his respects to Ginsburg, who will be laid to rest next week at Arlington National Cemetery, just outside Washington.
Named to the Supreme Court in 1993 by then-President Bill Clinton, Ginsburg was only the second woman to serve on the nation’s highest tribunal, joining Sandra Day O’Connor.
And from 2006, when O’Connor retired, to 2009, when Barack Obama appointed Sonia Sotomayor, Ginsburg was the court’s only female justice.
The addition of Elena Kagan in 2010 brought the number of women on the court to three.
Trump says he plans to name a woman to succeed Ginsburg, but gender is likely to be the only thing the Republican president’s nominee – set to announced Saturday – has in common with the late justice who came to be regarded as the leader of the liberal bloc on the nine-member court.
Ginsburg’s death just weeks ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election has spurred a bitter political fight between Republicans and Democrats.
In 2016, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell led the Republicans in refusing to even consider Obama’s nominee to fill the seat left vacant by the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia.
McConnell insisted that choosing Scalia’s replacement should be left to the winner of that year’s presidential contest pitting Trump against Hillary Clinton.
This time, however, McConnell plans to press ahead with confirmation of Trump’s nominee, which could conceivably take place before the election.