WASHINGTON—The Great Hall of the Supreme Court is a grand space filled with elaborate pillars and the busts of every chief justice since 1789, all of it in marble. There, the flag-draped casket of Justice Antonin Scalia was lying in repose on Friday, surrounded by an honor guard comprised of soldiers and his former law clerks, standing vigil four at a time through the day-long honors.
The entrance to the courtroom at the back of the Great Hall was draped in black in somber remembrance of Justice Scalia, as was his seat at the nine-Justice bench inside the courtroom and the section of the bench in front of his chair. His official portrait was displayed near the casket, surrounded by wreaths offered by the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.
“Democracy! Democracy!” cried an elderly black woman shuffling through the Great Hall with her walker late in the afternoon, piercing through the solemn silence, calling upon God to have mercy on America with the passing of this epic titan, whose legal opinions have been central to fundamental rights–from free speech to religious liberty to the Second Amendment.
Earlier in the day, the Justices gathered in tribute to the longest-serving Justice on the Supreme Court, joined by the Scalia family and over 90 of Justice Scalia’s former law clerks.
President Barack Obama also visited the Court later in the day, halting for approximately an hour the line of Americans wishing to pay tribute. Thousands of Americans, from everyday citizens to prominent national figures, stood in a line that at times stretched partway around the Court, to pay honor to the Justice.
Justice Scalia’s body remained at the Great Hall overnight, scheduled to be moved on Saturday morning to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception for his funeral.
Ken Klukowski is legal editor for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.