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Ruth Bader Ginsburg becomes first American woman in history to lie in state at US Capitol

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg has become the first woman in American history to lie in state at the US Capitol.

Commemorations began on Friday to honour the late Supreme Court Justice who died last week aged 87.

Mourners paid tribute to Ms Ginsburg as her casket was placed on the court’s steps. It then made the short procession across the street on Friday morning for a private Capitol ceremony with elected officials, family and other invited guests.

The ceremony was a celebration of Ms Ginsburg’s life and work, with musical selections from one of her favourite opera singers, mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves.

The casket of the late Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is carried by a military guard up the steps of the US Capitol (REUTERS)

Members of the House and Senate who were not invited to the ceremony because of space limitations imposed by the coronavirus pandemic could pay their respects ahead of the casket being taken to the Capitol

The honour of lying in state has been accorded fewer than three dozen times, mostly to presidents, vice-presidents and members of Congress.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg died last week aged 87

John Lewis, the civil rights icon, was the most recent person to lie in state after his death in July. Henry Clay, the Kentucky politician who served as Speaker of the House and also was a senator, was the first in 1852. Rosa Parks – a private citizen, not a government official – is the only woman who has lain in honour at the Capitol.

Ms Ginsburg has lain in repose for two days at the Supreme Court, where thousands of people paid their respects, including Mr Trump and first lady Melania Trump on Thursday.

US Congresswomen file through the Statuary Hall to pay their respects  (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Spectators booed and chanted “vote him out” as the president, who wore a mask, stood silently near her casket at the top of the court’s front steps.

Mr Trump plans to announce his nomination on Saturday of a woman to take Ms Ginsburg’s place on the high court, where she served for 27 years and was the leader of the liberal justices.

Ms Ginsburg, the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court, will be buried next week in Arlington National Cemetery beside her husband, Martin, who died in 2010

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