After a short but poignant private service inside the Great Hall of the U.S. Supreme Court, the casket of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was placed on the portico of the Supreme Court and the public were welcomed to file past. I was one of those who paid his respects.
Ginsburg Lies In Repose At U.S. Supreme Court – My Visit
I arrived in Washington, DC on Tuesday night, just ahead of RBG’s final farewell. In the still of the night, I took a walk down First Street NE to visit the Supreme Court ahead of the crowds that would soon line up as the sun rose.
Other than two guards and a few members of the media, I was all by myself…
A barricade had been erected to keep the street clear, but along the fence grateful Americans had left flowers and notes in memory of RBG.
It is in the stillness of the night that one can better reflect upon the fact that we all will eventually face death. Thinking about death always reminds me of the following verse from the John Roberts hymn Immortal, Invisible God Only Wise:
To all life Thou givest, to both great and small;
In all life Thou livest, the true life of all;
We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree,
And wither and perish, but nought changeth Thee.
(obviously not Chief Justice John Roberts)
RBG was such a fighter. She thought she could beat cancer or at least wait out Trump. But it was not meant to be.
The following morning I took the Metro to Union Station at about noon, and walked to the Supreme Court. Long lines greeted me on East Capitol Street, with thousands already queuing to pay their final respects.
A street preacher hollered at the crowds over a loudspeaker:
The crowd was a mix of old and young, white and black, gay and straight, and everybody in between. I was surprised at how many young children there were, though it was clear that parents wanted their children to take part in this historical event.
Lines moved fairly quickly and just over an hour later I made it to the front of the line.
I hesitated taking pictures, viewing it as somewhat inappropriate, but quickly took a few for purposes of this report. Two clerks were standing on the sides of the casket. There was no time limit as to how long you could spend at the base of the steps to the Supreme Court, but most paused only momentarily to keep the lines moving.
Around the side of the Supreme Court building was a depository for more notes and flowers. Unlike when Justice Scalia died, there were no commemorative card offered to guests.
I crossed the street to take one more look at the Supreme Court building before heading back to Union Station.
Was my last-minute detour to Washington, DC worthwhile? Yes, it was. As I stressed earlier, the pageantry of this event was to honor a brilliant woman, but also to honor an institution. That sort of civic pride is so helpful in countering the extreme partisanship that currently grips our nation.