Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was honored by her colleagues, friends and family on Wednesday, September 23 — less than a week after the women’s rights pioneer passed away at the age of 87. Ginsburg died due to complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer.
During the ceremony — which was held in the Great Hall of the building where she served for 27 years in Washington, DC — Justice Ginsburg’s family and members of the Supreme Court paid their respects. Later on, Ginsburg’s coffin was brought inside, where she will lie in repose over the next two days.
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“Justice Ginsburg’s life was one of the many versions of the American dream,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said during the ceremony. “Her father was an immigrant from Odessa. Her mother was born four months after her family arrived from Poland. Her mother later worked as a bookkeeper in Brooklyn. Ruth used to ask what is the difference in a bookkeeper in Brooklyn and a Supreme Court justice. Her answer: one generation.”
Roberts — who was the only who to speak other than Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt — revealed how she became an American hero. “She was not an opera star, but she found her stage right behind me in our courtroom,” he said. “There, she won famous victories that helped move our nation closer to equal justice under law, to the extent that women are now a majority in law schools, not simply a handful. Later, she became a star on the bench.”
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President Bill Clinton — who nominated Ginsburg in 1993 — and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton paid their respects, in addition to other politicians, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, Chris Coons of Delaware and Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
“With the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, America has lost one of the most extraordinary justices ever to serve on the Supreme Court,” Clinton said in a statement. “She was a magnificent judge and a wonderful person — a brilliant lawyer with a caring heart, common sense, fierce devotion to fairness and equality, and boundless courage in the face of her own adversity.”
Scroll through the gallery below to see photos from the ceremony.