Ruth Bader Ginsburg lies in state at US Capitol

By Melissa Macaya and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 3:58 p.m. ET, September 25, 2020
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10:15 a.m. ET, September 25, 2020

Justice Ginsburg makes history one final time

From CNN's Janelle Davis

U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's flag-draped casket is carried into Statuary Hall where she will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol on September 25 in Washington, DC.
U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's flag-draped casket is carried into Statuary Hall where she will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol on September 25 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is still making history, even after her death.

Ginsburg, who died last Friday due to complications of metastatic pancreas cancer, became the first woman to lie in state in the US Capitol on Friday, according to congressional historians. She's also the first Jewish person to be given that honor.

Her casket was placed on top of the Lincoln catafalque inside National Statuary Hall by the honor guard.

What this honor means: Lying in state (for government official and military officers) and lying in honor (for private citizens) is when someone's remains are placed in the US Capitol in Washington, DC, to allow the public to pay their respects.

This tribute is considered one of the highest honors.

Since the practice started in 1852, 38 people — counting Ginsburg — have been given this honor, including 12 presidents.

There are no written rules on who may lie in state or honor. It is determined by the current House and Senate and then must be accepted by the family of the deceased.

Watch her casket be placed inside the US Capitol:

10:09 a.m. ET, September 25, 2020

Justice Ginsburg's casket arrives at US Capitol

From CNN's Janelle Davis

The flag-draped casket of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is carried by a joint services military honor guard to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol on September 25 in Washington, DC.
The flag-draped casket of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is carried by a joint services military honor guard to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol on September 25 in Washington, DC. J. Scott Applewhite/AP

The casket of Justice Bader Ginsburg has arrived on the Capitol Plaza after it lay in repose at the Supreme Court Wednesday and Thursday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer greeted the motorcade alongside members of Ginsburg's family. The honor guard will be escorting the casket.

Ginsburg will become the first woman and Jewish person in history to lie in state in the US Capitol when her casket is placed shortly in National Statuary Hall.

Lying in state (for government official and military officers) and lying in honor (for private citizens) is when someone's remains are placed in the US Capitol in Washington, DC, to allow the public to pay their respects. This tribute is considered one of the highest honors.

Watch her casket be taken into the US Capitol:

9:36 a.m. ET, September 25, 2020

How Justice Ginsburg spent her final weeks living as if there'd be many more

From CNN's Joan Biskupic and Ariane de Vogue

The flag-draped casket of Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg arrives in the Great Hall at the U.S. Supreme Court, on September 23 in Washington, DC.
The flag-draped casket of Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg arrives in the Great Hall at the U.S. Supreme Court, on September 23 in Washington, DC. Andrew Harnik/Pool/Getty Images

In the weeks right before her death, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was still conferring on cases, penning notes to friends and continuing to schedule social events, including a wedding that she was to officiate the day she died.

Ginsburg, who had been fighting complications from metastatic cancer of the pancreas, was taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore a week earlier, stayed for a few days, and returned home on September 11, according to two people familiar with the situation. Her medical condition during that time is not known, and the Supreme Court public information officer said on Thursday that the family did not wish to provide details of Ginsburg's final days.

The 87-year-old justice's situation turned severe the week of September 14, and she died the evening of September 18, surrounded by her family.

Until the sudden end, the woman who had become known as the "Notorious RBG" was living as if there would be more tomorrows.

An in-demand wedding officiant: Eric Motley, whose wedding she was to officiate the night of her death, was told two days earlier, without reference to Ginsburg's medical condition, that the wedding would have to be postponed.

"I had been in touch with the chambers, in preparation for Friday," Motley told CNN. "They said we need to push it back, let's look at some other days."

Motley, who wrote about the planned wedding with Ginsburg in an essay for the New York Times, told CNN that he and the justice had exchanged personal emails during the summer and that she had sent him an upbeat note and photograph of the two of them, speaking with a maestro during an opera reception, pre-coronavirus. Ginsburg and Motley, who came to Washington as a special assistant to President George W. Bush, first met in 2002 at a dinner party and realized they shared a love of music.

Ginsburg had planned to marry Motley and his fiancée in a quiet ceremony on a patio at her apartment. She had officiated at a similar outdoor ceremony last month, after which the newlyweds posted a photo on Twitter. Ginsburg, clad in her black judicial robe and one of her distinctive decorative collars, was sitting at a lectern between them.

Motley, executive vice president of the Aspen Institute, said of Ginsburg's spirits in recent communications: "They were always good, always strong. This was a woman who was made to live. And she will live on."

Read the full story here.

11:36 a.m. ET, September 25, 2020

Justice Ginsburg will be honored at the US Capitol today. Here's a look at the schedule.

The U.S. Capitol is seen prior to the arrival of the flag-draped casket of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg that will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol on September 25 in Washington, DC.
The U.S. Capitol is seen prior to the arrival of the flag-draped casket of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg that will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol on September 25 in Washington, DC. J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will become the first woman in history to lie in state in the US Capitol today.

Here is an outline of today's events to honor her:

  • The casket will arrive on the Capitol Plaza at 9:30 a.m. ET
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will participate in a formal arrival ceremony for Ginsburg at 10:00 a.m. ET in National Statuary Hall. 
  • The ceremony in Statuary Hall will include a welcome by Pelosi, a reflection by Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt and two musical selections by American operatic soprano Denyce Graves, accompanied by pianist Laura Ward.
  • A departure ceremony photo opportunity will take place on the East Center steps at approximately 12:30 p.m. ET, where Pelosi will be joined by bipartisan women members of the House and Senate to pay their respects to the justice.

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

9:08 a.m. ET, September 25, 2020

Nearly 1,000 people sent CNN notes on what RBG meant to them. Read some of them here.

From CNN's David Williams

When Kalina Newman heard that Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died last Friday night, she and her boyfriend immediately left the restaurant where they were having dinner, bought some flowers and went to the US Supreme Court to join the crowd of people honoring the 87-year-old associate justice.

"As soon as I saw the candles and felt how peaceful it was, I began to cry," Newman told CNN.

Ginsburg, who embraced the nickname "The Notorious RBG" late in life, became a role model to generations because of her sharp wit, her legal knowledge and her fierce dissents.

CNN asked people to share what Ginsburg meant to them and tributes have come in from all over the world.

Many saw her as a real-life super hero — complete with her own action figures — who stood up for the rights of women, minorities and the LGBTQ+ community.

Some said they didn't agree with the liberal justice's positions, but admired her for maintaining a long friendship with late Justice Antonin Scalia, despite their ideological difference.

Read some of the stories you shared with us below:

8:59 a.m. ET, September 25, 2020

Pelosi: Ginsburg "embodied justice, brilliance and goodness"

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced earlier this week plans for the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to lie in state at the US Capitol.

"As an Associate Justice for more than 27 years, Ginsburg was a leading voice for equality on the Court and across the country," the statement announcing the plans read.

Pelosi said the justice "embodied justice, brilliance and goodness."

"Every family in America benefited from her brilliant legacy and courage. Her opinions have unequivocally cemented the precedent that all men and women are created equal," Pelosi added.

 

8:52 a.m. ET, September 25, 2020

Ginsburg will make history as she lies in state at the US Capitol today

From CNN's Ariane de Vogue

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will become the first woman in history to lie in state in the US Capitol when her casket is placed in National Statuary Hall today, according to congressional historians.

The historic event, which was announced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier this week, will feature a formal ceremony for invited guests only because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Lying in state is a tribute reserved for the most distinguished government officials and military officers, while lying in honor is a distinction given to private citizens.