Chief justice honors Ginsburg: 'When she spoke, people listened'

Chief Supreme Court Justice John Roberts honored late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg during a private ceremony in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court on Wednesday. 

Roberts said he remembers Ginsburg, who died of complications from pancreatic cancer on Friday, as "tough, brave, a fighter, a winner" but also "thoughtful, careful, compassionate, honest."

"Her voice in court and in our conference room was soft, but when she spoke, people listened," Roberts said.

Ginsburg was the second woman to be appointed to the high court and served as a justice for more than 27 years. 

Ginsburg's flag-draped casket was carrier into the Great Hall on Wednesday morning, past her former law clerks who lined the steps. After the ceremony, Ginsburg's casket was placed at the top of the court's front steps so that the public could pay their respects while adhering to public health guidelines. 

The court's eight remaining justices were present at the ceremony, marking the first time since they met in the building since the start of the pandemic, when they began meetings by telephone. 

Ginsburg will lie in repose for two days and will be on public view from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday. She'll then become the first woman to lie in state in the Capitol on Friday and only the second Supreme Court justice to receive the rare honor.

The liberal justice's death less than two months before the presidential election immediately sparked a partisan battle as President Trump and Senate GOP leaders moved to fill the vacancy she left on the conservative-majority court. 

Democrats have argued that filling a Supreme Court seat so close to the election is inappropriate and goes against Ginsburg's dying wishes. Senate GOP leaders held the same stance in 2016, when they refused to move then-President Obama's final Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, but say this year is different because Republicans control both the upper chamber and White House.