Justice Scalia Lies in Repose at Supreme Court; President Obama and First Lady to Pay Respects


Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia will make 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 will lie in repose all day and into the night so fellow justices, law clerks, Supreme Court employees and Americans who revered or simply respected him can pay homage.

Among them will be President Obama, whose views on the Constitution and federal laws tangled with the 79-year-old justice’s originalist approach. Members of Congress, administration officials and other leaders are expected as well.

Scalia died suddenly Saturday morning at a West Texas ranch during a hunting trip, 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.

The ceremonies will begin in below-freezing weather Friday morning when Supreme Court police officers carry Scalia’s casket up the steps and into the Great Hall. There it will rest on the Lincoln Catafalque, which first supported President Abraham Lincoln’s casket across the street in the U.S. Capitol in 1865.

Six other justices have been accorded such a privilege: Chief Justices Earl Warren, Warren Burger and William Rehnquist, and Associate Justices Thurgood Marshall, William Brennan and Harry Blackmun.

After a private ceremony, Scalia’s body will lie in repose from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. for public viewing.

On Saturday, the deeply devout Catholic justice will be celebrated at a funeral Mass in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, followed by a private burial.

SOURCE: Richard Wolf