The Latest: Mourners pay respects to late Justice Scalia

AP News
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Posted: Feb 19, 2016 7:08 PM
The Latest: Mourners pay respects to late Justice Scalia

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on ceremonies at the Supreme Court paying tribute to Justice Antonin Scalia, who was found dead Saturday (all times local):

6:30 p.m.

At least 4,000 people have been through the Supreme Court's Great Hall to pay their respects to the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

Spokeswoman Kathy Arberg says the court will stay open an additional hour until 9 p.m. to allow more people to get in. Public visitation was put on hold for about an hour while President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama came to pay their respects.

The line to get in has stretched to several blocks. Some people waited more than two hours to get in.

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3:39 p.m.

President Barack Obama has arrived at the Supreme Court to pay his respects to the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

Obama and first lady Michelle Obama walked to the casket and stood silently for less than a minute. They both have bowed their heads and closed their eyes.

They then walked over to the portrait of Scalia and observed it for another minute or two, chatting quietly.

Obama is not attending Scalia's funeral Mass on Saturday, despite some criticism from Republicans. Vice President Joe Biden will attend. The White House says the decision is a "respectful arrangement" given the president's large security detail and Biden's personal relationship with Scalia's family.

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1:55 p.m.

Two federal judges who have been discussed as possible replacements for Justice Antonin Scalia are among those paying their respects to the late jurist on Friday.

Judges Sri Srinivasan and Patricia Millett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit paused briefly before Scalia's casket in the Supreme Court's Great Hall. They also stopped to look at the portrait of Scalia by artist Nelson Shanks that was displayed nearby.

Srinivasan was confirmed to the appeals court by a 97-0 vote in May 2013. Millett was confirmed in December 2013 by a vote of 56-38.

Senate GOP leaders have said no replacement should be named until the next president takes office. Obama has pledged to pick a replacement "in due time" and challenged Republicans to vote on his nominee.

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1:00 p.m.

The late Justice Antonin Scalia's former law clerks are standing solemnly by his casket in the Supreme Court's Great Hall. The men and women are taking turns standing vigil in groups of four for about 30 minutes at a time.

The watch will continue around the clock until the casket departs for Scalia's funeral service Saturday morning.

The group includes some notables in the legal world, including former Solicitor General Paul Clement and Judge Jeffrey Sutton of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Meanwhile a steady stream of onlookers continues to file past the casket. Some keep walking slowly, while others pause for a few moments to bow their heads. A few make the sign of the cross, a gesture common among Roman Catholics, such as Scalia.

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12:10 p.m.

Outside the Supreme Court, fans of the late Justice Antonin Scalia have created a makeshift memorial at the bottom of the court steps. Items include two jars of applesauce, a package of paper bags and a pile of fortune cookies — a nod to his biting dissents last year in the court's gay marriage case and its ruling rejecting a challenge to President Barack Obama's health care law.

Scalia called the ruling in the health care case "pure applesauce." He compared the gay marriage majority opinion to the "mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie" and said he would hide his head in a paper bag if he ever joined such an opinion.

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11:25 a.m.

Almost everything at the Supreme Court runs on seniority. The justices' appearance Friday in the Great Hall, when the casket bearing the remains of their late colleague, Antonin Scalia, was brought in, is no exception.

The justices are standing in the same order in which they now will sit on the bench following Scalia's death. Chief Justice John Roberts is in the center of the group, with Justices Anthony Kennedy, now the longest-serving member of the court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Samuel Alito and Elena Kagan to Roberts' right. On the other side of the chief justice are Justices Clarence Thomas, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor. The next justice will sit beside Sotomayor.

Sotomayor is wearing a bandage on her right hand. Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg says it is a soft cast following outpatient surgery last week.

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10:27 a.m.

The line of people waiting to pay their respects to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia stretched for nearly a block a few minutes before the public was allowed into the Supreme Court, where he lies in repose.

Rhaleta and Kelvin Bernard of Queens, New York — where Scalia grew up — had been visiting Washington and changed their bus ticket back so that they could pay their respects.

Rhaleta Bernard, a reading specialist, spoke of Scalia in present tense. She said Scalia "believes in interpreting the law not making the law."

She said she would like to see "another Scalia" on the bench but said: "I don't think there's another one."

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9:58 a.m.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's son Paul — a Catholic priest — recited traditional prayers over his father's casket after it was placed in the Supreme Court's Great Hall. The court's current justices and Scalia's widow and nine children stood silently.

Friends and court staff also watched the ceremony. A group of Scalia's former law clerks began to stand vigil by their former boss in a tradition most recently observed after the 2005 death of former Chief Justice William Rehnquist.

The casket will go on public view from 10:30 a.m. until 8 p.m. Dozens of mourners have already lined up outside the court to pay their respects.

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9:39 a.m.

Justice Antonin Scalia's flag-draped casket has arrived at the Supreme Court where it will lie in repose on Friday.

Supreme Court police served as pallbearers to carry the casket up the marble steps into the court's Great Hall.

The procession passed between two long lines of Scalia's former law clerks that stretched from the plaza to the court's main entrance. Another group of 12 former clerks serving as honorary pallbearers followed.

The procession passed before the court's eight current justices and the casket was placed on the Lincoln Catafalque.

That's the same platform on which President Abraham Lincoln's coffin once rested at the Rotunda of the Capitol in 1865.

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3:38 a.m.

Thousands of mourners — from the president and members of Congress to former justices and tourists — are expected to pay their respects to Scalia as the casket rests in the court's Great Hall.

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 is resting 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 nearby.