Ruth Bader Ginsburg makes history in Congress again in her final goodbye

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg continues to write American history. The 87-year-old judge, who died a week ago, this Friday became the first woman with a public office whose burning chapel has been held in the Capitol, that is, she receives a State tribute after her death. She is also the first Jewish person to receive such an honor, reserved primarily for presidents and war heroes. An intimate ceremony in the Statuary Hall culminates the three days of tribute that the US capital has paid to the magistrate who defended gender equality throughout her career. Since the news of her death was known, thousands of people have come to the highest court to thank her for her tireless fight for justice. For the past two days, people queued for hours to say goodbye to the judge, whose coffin was exposed to the public on the stairs of the judicial building.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, welcomed with “deep sorrow and deep sympathy” the family and friends of the magistrate. The Democratic leader stressed that the remains of the judge rested on a tomb built for President Abraham Lincoln. Due to restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, only a small group of guests attended, all wearing masks, including Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his wife Jill, as well as his running mate for the vice presidency, Kamala Harris. . During the ceremony, soprano Denyce Graves sang “Deep River” and “American Anthem,” in memory of the judge’s love for opera. “She wanted to be an opera singer, but she became a rock star,” Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts said on the first tribute day.

During the ceremony, Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt of the Adas Israel Congregation in Washington reviewed Ginsburg’s rise to the highest position a judge can aspire to in the United States: the Supreme Court, the country’s highest court, responsible for shaping the rights of society. “Justice did not come like lightning, but rather through dogged persistence, every day of her life,” Holtzblatt said. “Real change, lasting change, happens little by little”, emulating one of the famous phrases of the judge. The rabbi invited the people to continue her legacy, to rise up despite the pain. “She was our prophet, our star in the north, our strength for so long. Now she must be allowed to rest after working so hard for each of us, ”she added.

In addition to the anonymous citizens who have come to pay their respects to the legend of American justice and icon of feminism, so have several politicians, both Democrats and Republicans. Among them, President Donald Trump, who on Thursday attended with his wife to pay his respects to the deceased judge. While they stood for a few minutes before the Ginsburg coffin, covered by an American flag, those gathered there shouted “vote to throw him out!” and “respect their wish.” The magistrate, before dying, had written that she wanted her successor to be chosen by the president who emerges from the polls in the next presidential elections, on November 3. Trump, however, just 24 hours after the announcement of the magistrate’s death, said he would appoint a woman to fill the vacancy.

The burning chapel of African-American civil rights activist Rosa Parks was also installed in the wide circular space under the vault of Congress. However, in the case of Judge Ginsburg it is a tribute of State. Since 1852, 38 people have received this recognition, considered one of the highest honors in American protocol. There are no hard and fast rules about who can have their burning chapel on Capitol Hill. It is determined by legislators and then must be accepted by the family of the deceased person.

Next week the magistrate will be buried with her husband, Martin Ginsgburg, in a private ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. Her great life partner, since they met in college at age 18, died in 2010.


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