WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a champion of gender equality, made history again on Friday as the first woman and first Jewish person to lie in state in the U.S. Capitol, in a ceremony featuring tears, soaring music and even push-ups.
Ginsburg, a stalwart liberal on the high court since 1993, died last Friday at age 87. Known simply as RBG, the first Jewish woman on the court became an icon to millions of Americans – especially young girls – after a long legal career fighting for equal rights.
“She changed the course of American law. And even when her views did not prevail, she still fought,” Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt said during a ceremony attended by Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his wife, lawmakers from both parties and relatives and friends of Ginsburg.
Denyce Graves, a mezzo-soprano, sang two songs, as some lawmakers brushed away tears.
Through her 80s, Ginsburg was known for her gym workouts. Her trainer, Bryant Johnson, did three push-ups in front of her casket as he paid his respects.
Female members of Congress, Democrats as well as Republicans, gathered on the Capitol steps to honor Ginsburg after the formal memorial ceremony in National Statuary Hall, where Ginsburg’s coffin lay on a catafalque first built for President Abraham Lincoln.
House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer stood at the entrance to the Capitol as Ginsburg’s flag-draped coffin arrived.
Pelosi formally opened the ceremony at a lectern beside a large photo of Ginsburg in her judicial robes and one of her signature lace collars.
Civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks was also mourned at the Capitol in 2005, but as a private citizen she lay “in honor.”
President Donald Trump plans to announce his nomination Saturday of a woman to take Ginsburg’s place on the high court, where she served for 27 years and was the leader of the liberal justices.
Ginsburg, the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court, will be buried next week in Arlington National Cemetery beside her husband, Martin, who died in 2010.