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Ginsburg lies in state in US Capitol, first woman so honored

Ginsburg's flag-draped casket was carried up the Capitol east steps and brought to Statuary Hall, where the justice's relatives, US lawmakers, and dignitaries including Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, were in attendance.

The flag-draped casket of the late US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg arrives at the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, 23 September 2020. Picture: AFP.

WASHINGTON - Late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was honoured Friday at the US Capitol, where she made history one final time becoming the first woman and first Jewish person to lie in state there.

Ginsburg's flag-draped casket was carried up the Capitol east steps and brought to Statuary Hall, where the justice's relatives, US lawmakers, and dignitaries including Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, were in attendance.

Attendees, most masked to guard against the spread of coronavirus, placed their hands on their hearts as an honour guard laid the casket on a black-ribbon-draped wooden stand.

The stand, known as a catafalque, was the same one that bore President Abraham Lincoln's body after his assassination in 1865.

Ginsburg, who died September 18 at age 87, was only the second woman to serve on America's highest court, and became known for changing the face of US anti-discrimination law.

"May she rest in peace," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in brief remarks, before later approaching the casket and crossing herself.

Most lawmakers in attendance were Democratic women, although some Republicans were also there to pay respects including number two Republican Steve Scalise.

Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt, in a reflection, said Ginsburg "pursued justice" every day of her life, even in illness.

"Justice did not arrive like a lightning bolt but rather through dogged persistence," the rabbi said.

The ceremony took place in historic Statuary Hall, where civil rights icon Rosa Parks, who as a private civilian lay in honour in the Capitol after her death, is commemorated with a statue.

Among the mourners was a man whom officials identified as Ginsburg's personal trainer. Videos of the octogenarian justice performing planks and curls had become a viral phenomenon.

The trainer approached the casket, lowered himself to the marble floor and did three push-ups in Ginsburg's honour.

President Donald Trump, Biden's election rival who has vowed to quickly fill the crucial vacancy created by Ginsburg's death, paid his respects to the late justice Thursday at the Supreme Court, where he was heckled by protesters.

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