[Rushtalk] Thousands pay respects to late Justice Scalia

Carl Spitzer lynux at keepandbeararms.com
Thu Mar 3 10:43:31 MST 2016

Thousands pay respects to late Justice Scalia
February 19, 2016 at 10:02 AM EST  | Updated: Feb 19, 2016 at 3:30 PM

WASHINGTON — Bidding farewell to their longtime colleague, the eight
remaining Supreme Court justices joined family members, former law
clerks and members of the public Friday in paying their respects to
Antonin Scalia in a tradition-laden, solemn day at the marble courthouse
atop Capitol Hill.

The Rev. Paul Scalia, the justice’s son and a Catholic priest, said
traditional prayers at a private ceremony before thousands of people
filed through the court’s Great Hall, where Scalia’s casket lay on a
funeral bier first used after President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.

“You have called your servant Antonin out of this world. Release him
from the bonds of sin and welcome him into your presence,” the sixth of
the justice’s nine children said.

A small, private ceremony was held for Associate Justice Antonin Scalia
at the Supreme Court Friday morning. Justice Scalia’s body will lie in
repose at the Supreme Court today.

Outside the court, meanwhile, a makeshift memorial was set up featuring
jars of applesauce, a pile of fortune cookies and paper bags, items that
figured in the outspoken conservative Scalia’s sharp dissents in recent

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama planned to pay
respects later Friday, while Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill
Biden were to attend Saturday’s funeral Mass.

On Friday, 98 former law clerks to Scalia lined the Supreme Court’s
steps as a police honor guard carried the casket into the building
beneath the iconic words “Equal Justice Under Law” just after 9:30 a.m.
on a cold, overcast morning.

The justices stood near the casket in the same order in which they will
sit on a reconfigured bench following Scalia’s death last week in Texas.
Chief Justice John Roberts was between Justices Anthony Kennedy, the
longest-serving member of the current court, and Clarence Thomas.

A 2007 portrait of Scalia by artist Nelson Shanks was displayed nearby.
In it, the justice is shown surrounded by images representing important
moments and influences in his life, including a framed wedding
photograph of his wife, Maureen. The extended Scalia family gathered
around the widow inside the court.

Scalia’s clerks also took 30-minute turns standing near the casket in
groups of four, and planned to do so through the night until his body is
taken from the court for his funeral on Saturday.

Among those passing through the Great Hall were members of the federal
appeals court on which Scalia served before joining the Supreme Court,
including two judges mentioned as possible replacements. Judges Sri
Srinivasan and Patricia Millett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the
District of Columbia Circuit paused briefly before Scalia’s casket and

The court building was to be open for 9½ hours to allow visitors to file
through. At one point, the line of people waiting to pay respects
stretched more than a block and the wait to get in was 90 minutes.

Rhaleta Bernard from the New York City borough of Queens, where Scalia
grew up, had been visiting Washington with her husband, Kelvin. They
changed their bus tickets in order to pay their respects.

Bernard said Scalia “believes in interpreting the law, not making the

“I want another Scalia,” said Bernard, a reading specialist. “I don’t
think there’s another one, though.”

Visitors passed near the collection of flowers and goods people left to
remember Scalia and some of his sharply worded comments. Scalia had
called Roberts’ opinion for the court in last year’s health care case
“pure applesauce.” He compared Kennedy’s majority opinion declaring the
right of same-sex couples to marry to the “mystical aphorisms of the
fortune cookie” and said he would hide his head in a paper bag if he
ever joined such an opinion.

The Mass, open to family and friends, will take place Saturday at 11
a.m. at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
in Washington. Burial plans have not been released.

Scalia’s sudden death complicated an already tumultuous election year.
His death gives Obama a chance to replace the conservative stalwart with
a more liberal successor who could tilt the ideological balance of the
court for decades to come.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other GOP leaders have said a
replacement should not be named until the next president takes office.
Obama has pledged to pick a replacement “in due time” and challenged
Republicans to hold a vote on his nominee.

Scalia was found dead on Saturday in his room at a remote Texas hunting
resort. The 79-year-old jurist was appointed to the court in 1986 by
President Ronald Reagan.

READ MORE: What legacy did Justice Scalia leave on the Supreme Court?

Associated Press reporters Mark Sherman Sam Hananel wrote this report.

Associated Press writer Jessica Gresko contributed to this report.

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