WASHINGTON — Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg became the first woman and first Jewish person ever to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol as she was honored on Friday.
Lawmakers held a formal ceremony for Ginsburg in National Statuary Hall inside the Capitol after her casket arrived on the plaza outside just after 9:45 a.m.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, were among those who paid their respects. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Biden’s vice presidential nominee, also attended the ceremony.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., welcomed lawmakers to the arrival ceremony, which included a reflection by Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt, of the conservative D.C., synagogue Adas Israel, who recited prayers during the ceremony inside the Supreme Court on Wednesday. There were also two musical selections by American operatic soprano Denyce Graves, who was accompanied by pianist Laura Ward.
“Today she makes history again as the first woman, and the first Jewish woman, to lie in state,” Rabbi Holtzblatt said. “Today we stand in sorrow, and tomorrow we the people must carry on Justice Ginsburg’s legacy. Even as our hearts are breaking, we must rise with her strength and move forward.”
After the ceremony, lawmakers stopped in front of her casket in socially distanced groups. Bryant Johnson, the personal trainer for Ginsburg, who was known for an intense workout regimen even in her late 80s, did three full pushups in front of her casket.
Pelosi’s office said earlier this week that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremony is open to invited guests only.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., was not in attendance at the ceremony. A source familiar with the guest list told NBC News that McConnell is “on the list of regrets.” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., was also absent from the Capitol on Friday morning, although he was invited.
A formal departure ceremony will begin as Ginsburg’s casket leaves the Capitol around 12:30 p.m.
Ginsburg is 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.
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.