September 24, 2022

Scalia’s funeral, like those of past justices, will draw thousands

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Ceremony at the Supreme Court fot the late William Rehnquist. Credit: Roberto Westbrook. 9/6/05.

Ceremony at the Supreme Court fot the late William Rehnquist. Credit: Roberto Westbrook. 9/6/05.

By Tony Mauro, The National Law Journal
Justice to lie in repose Friday at the Supreme Court.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s funeral will take place Saturday at the largest Roman Catholic Church in America, underscoring the fact that justices’ funerals are major events in the nation’s capital.
The funeral will take place at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on Saturday, Feb. 20, at 11 a.m., the Supreme Court said Tuesday afternoon. The court said the funeral Mass will be open to friends and family members.
The Supreme Court announced Tuesday that Scalia will “lie in repose” in the Great Hall of the court itself, where members of the public can pay their respects. By tradition, the other eight justices stand on the steps of the court to meet the coffin as it is brought into the building.
A funeral at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception would reflect a determination that other churches more familiar to Scalia in Virginia and Washington would not have enough capacity to accommodate the large number of friends and dignitaries who might attend. The basilica can seat as many as 6,000 people.
Scalia had ties to the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in D.C., as well as to churches in the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, where he lived and where his son Rev. Paul Scalia serves as a “delegate for priests.”
Chief Justice William Rehnquist’s funeral in 2005 took place at St. Matthew’s, even though Rehnquist was not Catholic, in part because of space considerations. The nearly 2,000 attendees ranged from President George W. Bush to Diego D’Ambrosio, the barber for Rehnquist and for Scalia and Samuel Alito Jr.
Justice William Brennan Jr.’s funeral in 1997 also filled St. Matthew’s for a ceremony that was punctuated by the shouts of anti-abortion protesters outside. Although the demonstration startled and offended some, Brennan’s admirers agreed that the justice, a champion of free speech, would have approved.
Millions of viewers watched Thurgood Marshall’s televised funeral in 1993 at the National Cathedral, which seated more than 3,500 people. President Bill Clinton attended, as did his wife Hillary, and civil rights leaders from across the country.
Those attending Justice Harry Blackmun’s 1999 had to fight a blizzard as they made their way to the D.C. church he attended, the Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church.
Humorist and fellow Minnesotan Garrison Keillor, who gave Blackmun the nickname “the shy person’s justice,” punctuated the two-hour event with lullabies.
This story was updated with additional information about Scalia’s funeral.
IMAGE: Ceremony at the Supreme Court for the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist. September 6, 2005. Photo: Roberto Westbrook/ALM
For more on this story go to: http://www.nationallawjournal.com/id=1202749777175/Scalias-Funeral-Like-Those-of-Past-Justices-Will-Draw-Thousands#ixzz40R5HbkLc

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