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Justice Scalia's Casket Put on View at Supreme Court

Image: Justice Scalia's Casket Put on View at Supreme Court

Friday, 19 Feb 2016 12:07 PM

Justice Antonin Scalia’s flag-draped casket was placed in the U.S. Supreme Court’s ceremonial hallway on Friday before a crowd of mourners that included somber and tearful colleagues, family members and former law clerks.

Chief Justice John Roberts wiped away tears as the justices waited for pallbearers to carry the casket up the court’s massive front stairs into the building, and Justices Elena Kagan and Samuel Alito fought back tears as well. The eight justices stood silently in the new order they will take on the bench, leaving extra space between Roberts and Clarence Thomas, who had previously flanked Scalia.

Paul Scalia, a Roman Catholic priest and one of the late justice’s nine children, offered a prayer. "In your wisdom, you have called your servant Antonin out of this world," he said. "Release him from the bonds of sin and welcome him to your presence."

Scalia’s wife Maureen, his other children and dozens of grandchildren looked on silently. The room was decorated with flowers, wreaths and the late justice’s official portrait.

Almost 100 of Scalia’s former law clerks attended, and they will take turns standing watch over the casket throughout the day, along with an honor guard. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama plan to pay their respects later in the day.

Scalia, who died at a west Texas resort ranch last weekend at age 79, will lie in repose until 8 p.m. Washington time Friday. His casket is resting on the catafalque that was quickly constructed in 1865 for President Abraham Lincoln after his assassination.

By 10:30 a.m New York time, a long line for members of the public wishing to view the casket stretched around the side of the court.

‘Originalist’ Approach

Scalia served for almost three decades on the nation’s highest court, making his mark by advocating an "originalist" approach to the Constitution that limited protections to those specifically laid out in the document. He was known for his bluntness, wit and sarcasm, both in his opinions and in public appearances.

His unexpected death has transformed the future of the court and the nation’s politics. Senate Republicans are aiming to stop Obama from filling the seat before he leaves office in January.

Scalia will be buried after a funeral Saturday in Washington at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the country’s largest Catholic church. Retired justices John Paul Stevens and David Souter are expected to attend, as is Vice President Joe Biden.

 

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Justice Antonin Scalia's flag-draped casket was placed in the U.S. Supreme Court's ceremonial hallway on Friday before a crowd of mourners that included somber and tearful colleagues, family members and former law clerks.Chief Justice John Roberts wiped away tears as the...
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Friday, 19 Feb 2016 12:07 PM
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