In addition, a black drape has been hung over the Courtroom doors.This tradition dates 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.
The flags on the Court’s front Plaza will be flown at half-staff for 30 days.
The president will pay his respects on Friday, when Scalia’s body lies in repose in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court building. Vice President Joe Biden will attend Scalia’s funeral at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the White House said Wednesday during a press briefing.
Four out of the past seven funerals for a Supreme Court justice have either had the president or vice president in attendance.
Former President George W. Bush attended the funeral for Chief Justice William Rehnquist.
Former President Bill Clinton attended the funerals for former Chief Justice Warren E. Burger and Justice William Brennan but did not attend the funerals for Justices Harry Blackmun or Lewis F. Powell Jr.
Former Vice President Al Gore attended the funeral for Justice Thurgood Marshall.
Scalia’s chair on the Supreme Court bench and the bench itself were draped with black wool crepe in memoriam Tuesday — a Supreme Court tradition. In addition, a black drape was hung over the courtroom doors.
With the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, there is now a vacancy that must be filled on the Supreme Court — and President Obama has a Constitutional responsibility to nominate someone to take his place.
The Supreme Court is a vital institution of American democracy and, since the founding of our country, the President of the United States has had the responsibility to appoint a Justice to the Supreme Court every time — and any time — there is a vacancy on the bench. It then falls to the United States Senate to confirm that nominee before he or she can take her seat on our nation’s highest court.
The funeral Mass for Associate Justice Antonin Scalia will be celebrated on Saturday, February 20, at 11 a.m. at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, 400 Michigan Avenue, NE. The Mass will be open to friends and family members. There will be a private burial.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to any of the following organizations:
- Supreme Court Historical Society, http://www.supremecourthistory.org;
- Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington, http://www.ccda.net;
- Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, http://benedictinesofmary.org.