Mourners to pay respects Friday to late Justice Scalia

AP News
Posted: Feb 18, 2016 4:41 PM
Mourners to pay respects Friday to late Justice Scalia

WASHINGTON (AP) — Thousands of mourners are expected to pay their respects to the late Justice Antonin Scalia as he lies in repose Friday at the Supreme Court.

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are among those expected to pay their respects at the court. The justice's former law clerks will take turns standing vigil by their former boss throughout the day and night in a tradition most recently observed after the 2005 death of former Chief Justice William Rehnquist.

Court officials said Scalia's casket will arrive Friday morning. Supreme Court police will carry it up the court steps, with former clerks following as honorary pallbearers.

The casket will be placed in the court's Great Hall on the Lincoln Catafalque, the platform on which President Abraham Lincoln's coffin rested in the Capitol rotunda in 1865. A 2007 portrait of Scalia by artist Nelson Shanks will be displayed near the casket.

A private ceremony including family, friends and justices will take place at the court at 9:30 a.m. Scalia's casket will be on public view in the court's Great Hall from 10:30 a.m. until 8 p.m.

A funeral mass open to family and friends will take place Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. Burial plans have not been released.

In a departure from tradition, the court's current and former justices won't be lining the marble steps outside the court as the casket is carried through the main entrance. They will instead be waiting inside. Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg did not explain the reason for the change.

Scalia was found dead on Saturday in his room at a remote Texas hunting resort. The 79-year-old jurist was appointed to the court in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan.

He is survived by his wife, Margaret Jane, nine children and 36 grandchildren.