Justice Ginsburg becomes first woman to lie in state at the Capitol

WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Joe Biden plans to pay respect Friday to the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as she lies in state at the U.S. Capitol, the first woman ever to do so.

Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, will travel to Washington, D.C., to honor her, and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Biden's vice presidential nominee, also plans to stop by on Friday.

Lawmakers will hold a formal ceremony for Ginsburg in the National Statuary Hall inside the Capitol at 10 a.m. ET after her casket arrives on the plaza outside at 9:30 a.m.

Ginsburg will be the first woman and first Jewish person to ever lie in state at the Capitol, according to historical records. The civil rights activist Rosa Parks was the first woman to lie in honor, which is the designation for non-office-holding citizens and former office holders.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is expected to participate in the arrival ceremony, which will include a reflection by Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt, a rabbi at the conservative D.C. synagogue Adas Israel who recited prayers during the ceremony inside the Supreme Court on Wednesday. There will be two musical selections by American operatic soprano Denyce Graves, which will be accompanied by pianist Laura Ward.

Pelosi’s office said earlier this week that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremony is open to invited guests only.

A formal departure ceremony will then begin as Ginsburg's casket leaves the Capitol around 12:30 p.m.

According to the Architect of the Capitol, Ginsburg will be only the second Supreme Court justice to lie in state at the Capitol. The other one was William Howard Taft, who was not only the chief justice but also a former president.

Ginsburg died last Friday at the age of 87 at her home in Washington, D.C., after complications from pancreatic cancer. She was the second woman justice on the high court and served for more than 27 years.

She lay in repose at the Supreme Court on Wednesday and Thursday where mourners spanning multiple generations gathered to celebrate the feminist icon. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump visited the casket on the top of the Supreme Court’s front steps Thursday where he was booed and greeted by chants of "vote him out."

A private interment service will be held for Ginsburg at Arlington National Cemetery next week.

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