A week after her death, Ginsburg became the first woman and second Supreme Court justice to lie in state in the Capitol Building.
By Gabriel Arizon, Editor-in-Chief
After serving as an associate judge of the Supreme Court for more than 27 years, Ruth Bader Ginsburg became the first woman and first Jewish person to lie in state in the U.S. Capitol on Friday after losing her battle with pancreatic cancer.
A week of public memorials followed her passing on Sept. 18, after which Ginsburg’s casket was displayed in the Capitol Building for a private ceremony. She is the second Supreme Court justice to be given the honor — according to the BBC — the first being William Howard Taft, who also served as a U.S. president. The ceremony, which paid tribute to her work, was led by and largely attended by women, according to the New York Times. Ginsburg’s family will hold a private burial later this week at the Arlington National Cemetery.
“It is with profound sorrow and deep sympathy to the Ginsburg family that I have the high honor to welcome Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to lie in state in the Capitol of the United States,” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said. “She does so on a catafalque built for Abraham Lincoln. May she rest in peace.”
Ginsburg was the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court, being sworn in on Aug. 10, 1993 by then President Bill Clinton. By then, she was already known as an advocate for gender equality and women’s rights. She founded the Women’s Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union in 1972, and won five of six gender discrimination cases before the Supreme Court between 1973 and 1976, according the NY Times.
Janet Benshoof, the former president of the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy, called Ginsburg “the Thurgood Marshall of gender equality law.”
In 1996, she wrote the majority opinion in the United States v. Virginia case — in which the Supreme Court struck down the male-only admission policy of the Virginia Military Institute — stating that it had violated the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. In 2015, Ginsburg sided with the majority in the Obergefell v. Hodges case, which legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states.
Ginsburg earned her nickname as the ‘Notorious RBG’ in 2013 from a law student that highlighted her dissent in the controversial Shelby County v. Holder case, which struck down key provisions in the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The ruling allowed for state officials to make it more difficult for Blacks and other minorities to vote, as nearly a thousand polling places (predominantly in southern Black communities) were closed, according to Pew.
The same day of her death, President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell moved forward with plans to find her replacement. On Sept. 25, after Ginsburg’s ceremony, Trump announced Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to succeed her.
In a statement to her granddaughter before her death, Ginsburg stated, “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”