Washington – Congress paid its highest posthumous tribute on Friday to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Supreme Court Justice who died a week ago, who became the first woman in the country to be granted a state wake and whose replacement has entered in the electoral debate.
The National Statuary Hall of the United States Capitol housed the Ginsburg coffin in a burning chamber, which was placed on the catafalque built for the coffin of former President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865).
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Amid military honors and draped with the American flag, the coffin with Ginsburg’s remains arrived at the Capitol in the morning after two days perched on the steps of the Supreme Court for the popular farewell.
Since last Wednesday, hundreds of people came to the headquarters of the highest court in Washington -which since last Friday has been filled with flowers or messages in honor of the deceased- to express their admiration for this progressive judge who died on 18 September at the age of 87, due to pancreatic cancer.
Ginsburg is the first woman and the first Jewish woman in the United States to receive a state wake on Capitol Hill, and she is only the second member of the Supreme Court to be honored, after William Howard Taft – who was also American President – after his death in 1930.
That ceremony is reserved for United States officials whose impact on history has been exceptional, and it had only been held thirty times as of this Friday.
Another woman, civil rights activist Rosa Parks, also lay on Capitol Hill in 2005, but as she held no government office, hers was a “wake of honor,” not a state.
The vacancy left by Ginsburg has become a subject of debate on the eve of the elections on November 3, due to the desire of President Donald Trump to quickly choose his replacement, something with which the Democratic opposition does not agree. even some Republicans.
A poll by the ABC television network indicated today that 57% of Americans believe that the vacancy should be decided by the winner of the elections, compared to 38% who believed that Trump should now propose his replacement and the Senate, in which now Republicans have the majority, confirm it quickly.
Congress leaders and personalities
The funeral service, marked by solemnity and organized by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, was attended by political leaders, personalities and government officials.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley attended the ceremony leading a delegation from the Pentagon.
The absence of US President Donald Trump, who this Thursday appeared on the steps of the Supreme Court and was booed by the public, and of Republican leaders in the Senate, in charge of the election of the successor of the judge.
The magistrate’s children, Jane and James, as well as the Democratic Party candidate for the Presidency, Joe Biden, and his running mate, Kamala Harris, were also among the attendees.
The mezzo-soprano Danyce Graves, a friend of the magistrate, who was a well-known opera fan, also participated.
Graves performed “Deep River,” in which it became one of the most emotional moments of the wake.
Another much-talked-about episode featured Ginsburg’s personal trainer, Bryant Johnson, who stepped up to the coffin and did three push-ups like he did twice a week with the octogenarian judge, whose strict exercise regimen became popular across the United States.