Supreme Court honors Ginsburg with black crepe, lowered flags

The Supreme Court has draped a black wool crepe over the entrance to the courtroom and the place on the bench formerly occupied by the late Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgSupreme Court to hear landmark abortion case this week Roe redux: Is 'viability' still viable as a constitutional doctrine? Yankee Doodling the media: How 'Let's Go Brandon' became a rallying cry against news bias MORE, a court tradition dating to at least 1873. 

The flags on the court's front plaza will also be flown at half-staff for 30 days in honor of Ginsburg, who died Friday from pancreatic cancer. 

A court spokesperson said the draping of black crepe traces back at least as far as the death of Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase in 1873.


"It is believed to have been followed since, with the bench chair and bench draped on the death of each sitting justice, and the courtroom door draped on the death of each justice, sitting or retired," said court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg.

The solemn tradition was last invoked following the deaths of retired Justice John Paul Stevens in 2019 and Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016.

The announcement comes after the Supreme Court’s eight current justices and two surviving retired justices on Saturday issued statements recalling the grace, fortitude and wit of their late colleague, who was a trailblazer for women's rights and gender equality.