WASHINGTON — Only about 200 members of the nation’s political elite — or about 10 percent of the justices — attended a funeral service for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Tuesday.
Ginsburg, 84, died Thursday of cancer, not long after joining the court.
The emotional, largely attended service at a synagogue in suburban Washington was attended by some of the country’s most recognizable names: former President Bill Clinton, former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden, long-time Supreme Court associate justice Sonia Sotomayor and former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.“Today the United States Supreme Court is a much less expressive institution than it was at its founding,” said former Supreme Court justice Samuel Alito, who joined Ginsburg as an Associate Justice. “Justice Ginsburg took a position that made it hard for the Supreme Court to speak in public.”
Ginsburg’s funeral was attended by hundreds of friends and colleagues at her Bethesda, Maryland, home and also by her family and supporters.
Much of the day’s discussion and discourse about Ginsburg centered on her years of work on behalf of the poor and disabled and on her regard for women, gay people and minorities.
In her own words, she described herself as one of America’s most successful lawyers, who said she believed in keeping justices young and vibrant.
“She is the first openly woman on a Supreme Court and the first who is still alive in 2020,” Alito said.
After the service, Ginsburg’s casket — draped in a red, white and blue, Superman-inspired Superman-esque pattern — was carried from the historic Senate chambers where she has a seat in the building that opened in 1884 to honor the women who helped her into the highest ranks of American society.
She was joined by her second husband, Ken Ginsburg, her daughters, three grandchildren and fellow Scalia jurist Brett Kavanaugh, who was named to the court last year.Lawyers cheered after she was carried into the rotunda to chants of “We love you Ruth.” A solemn prayer was offered, the words: “We will never forget your kindness and justice to the underprivileged, your fierce, staunch defense of the rights of the voiceless and your blessing for America.”
Before the service, Ginsburg’s funeral cortege made a short but stop at the Lincoln Memorial, where Kennedy and his widow, Ethel, and one of her daughters, Julia, were photographed wearing stars and stripes garb to commemorate her service on the Supreme Court.
Lawyers wore white on the bridge as they came from court, and inside the courtroom, the court was filled with the nation’s political and legal elite.“She was one of the most admired women in America. And I’m sure you are all feeling very warmly,” Judge Brett Kavanaugh said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”