Scores of people filled the steps leading up to the Supreme Court in Washington on Friday night, crowding the plaza outside and spilling across the street in a candlelight tribute to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Many said that it was a solemn celebration of Justice Ginsburg’s legacy in shaping American jurisprudence, and that it should not be corrupted by the political fights bound to flare up in the Capitol in the days to come.
“We, as citizens, have a responsibility to mourn her, and stand together and show that we care about human life, which is something I think we’ve lost in the last six months,” said David Means, who was quietly discussing the justice’s legacy in the court’s plaza. “We need to be here — this is the place to be for anyone who believes in American ideals and progress in this country.”
Mourners began arriving at the court after dusk. At first, those gathered were so quiet that splashes from nearby fountains were audible across the plaza. But soon crowds swelled, filling the courthouse stairs, singing “Amazing Grace” and discussing the effects Justice Ginsburg had on the law.
Nearly all appeared to be wearing masks to protect themselves from the coronavirus, but social distancing was less observed, with many standing nearly shoulder to shoulder.
Becca Ebert of Seattle, who moved to Washington for a dual-degree program at Georgetown University, credited Justice Ginsburg with opening doors for women. “I know that I can go to law school because of a lot of the work that she did,” she said.
Others celebrated Justice Ginsburg’s role in landmark rulings on matters like gay marriage.
“As a proud L.G.B.T.Q.I.A. Hispanic male, it transcends so many different levels, in my community, in the community I was raised up in El Paso, Texas — it absolutely means so much, the work that she did,” said Richard Cerros of Washington.