Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia made one final visit Friday to the marble palace he dominated for the past three decades.
His baritone voice silenced and his mighty pen relinquished, Scalia’s flag-draped casket was carried into the court’s Great Hall and placed on the Lincoln Catafalque, which first supported President Abraham Lincoln’s casket across the street in the U.S. Capitol after his assassination in 1865.
There he was honored by the remaining eight justices and 98 of his former law clerks, who stood as one of Scalia’s nine children, Rev. Paul Scalia, recited a brief prayer. The justice’s widow, Maureen and his eight other children sat before the casket, with dozens of grandchildren standing behind them.
“You have called your servant Antonin out of this world,” Rev. Scalia said. “Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord. May he rest in peace.”
Scalia died suddenly Saturday morning at a West Texas hunting resort, just days after returning from an extended public speaking trip to Singapore and Hong Kong. His death has set off an unprecedented political battle between the White House and the Republican-controlled Senate over how and when he should be replaced, with the court’s ideological balance at stake.
For two days, however, that battle will take a back seat to the pomp and circumstance befitting one of the nation’s leading figures — the son of an Italian immigrant who made an indelible impact on the nation’s highest court for nearly 30 years.
Scalia will lie in repose all day and into the night so that his fellow justices, law clerks, Supreme Court employees and Americans who revered or simply respected him can pay homage. Groups of four former clerks, rotating every 30 minutes, will stand beside the coffin at all times.
President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are expected to pay their respects in the afternoon. They will not attend Saturday’s funeral for Scalia, instead deciding to be represented by Vice President Biden and his wife, Jill.
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: USA Today, Richard Wolf