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News Wrap: Thousands gather at Supreme Court to pay respects to Antonin Scalia

February 19, 2016 at 7:00 PM EDT
A woman takes a picture of the casket containing the remains of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia as it lies in repose in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court in Washington February 19, 2016. Scalia died on February 13, 2016 at the age of 79. REUTERS/Carlos Barria - RTX27R1P

JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I’m Judy Woodruff.

On the “NewsHour” tonight: a scramble for Republicans and a close race for Democrats. Candidates have one last day to campaign until voting tomorrow in South Carolina and Nevada, making a perfect Friday preview for Mark Shields and David Brooks. They are here to analyze the week’s news.

Then: a report from the Greek island of Lesbos, where winter weather has done little to stem the flow of refugees.

MAN: A normal day. The boat have a problem with the engine. It cannot move. The people inside, we have too many children, two sick guys, in this case, we have to put on board and take them ashore to have a medical test.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And we remember Harper Lee, author of the classic novel “To Kill a Mockingbird.” She died today at age 89.

All that and more on tonight’s “PBS NewsHour.”


JUDY WOODRUFF: Thousands of people, among them President and Mrs. Obama, paid final respects today to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. He died last Saturday at the age of 79, and lay in repose today at the building where he had worked since 1986.

Hari Sreenivasan has our report.

HARI SREENIVASAN: It was a day of solemn scenes at the land’s highest court, starting with the flag-covered casket being carried past men and women who clerked for Scalia during his 30 years as a justice.

The procession moved into the Great Hall, passing the eight remaining justices, and the casket was placed on a funeral bier first used after President Lincoln’s assassination. Then, a private ceremony, with the justice’s widow and children looking on, as his son, Reverend Paul Scalia, read the Lord’s Prayer.

REV. PAUL SCALIA, Justice Antonin Scalia’s Son: Our father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth, as is it is in heaven.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Throughout the day, former clerks stood vigil, occasionally wiping away tears, as the court opened for public viewing. Visitors ranged from tourists, to members of Congress, to federal appeals Judges Sri Srinivasan and Patricia Millett, who are being mentioned as possible replacements for Scalia.

Outside, for much of the day, the line stretched around the block.

ANTHONY LECOUN: Someone who knew the law, had the right opinions about the law, and just had the wit to actually convey those opinions in a way that, like, stuck with you and, like, made an impression.

JEFF CULLER: I couldn’t be further from the polar opposite of Justice Scalia and a lot of his philosophies. You know, I’m probably as far to the left as he is to the right, but, you know, that isn’t really important. When someone dies, it’s just kind of time to put politics aside.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Another mourner, Benjamin Williams, offered a bagpipe tribute, as he said he’s done for senators and congressmen before.

This afternoon, President Obama and the first lady paid their respects. The Obamas will not attend tomorrow’s funeral, but Vice President Biden and his wife will be there at Washington’s Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other news, an offshoot Kurdish militant group claimed responsibility today for a suicide bombing that rocked Turkey’s capital this week. The blast in Ankara killed 28 people. The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons said it was revenge for Turkish military assaults on Kurdish rebels.

Prospects for peace in Syria have dimmed even further. The U.N.’s Syria envoy today called off peace talks planned for next week. Staffan de Mistura said he cannot realistically arrange negotiations right now. Fighting has intensified in the last week, with a new offensive by Syria’s military and its allies, backed up by Russian bombing.

U.S. warplanes attacked an Islamic State training camp in Libya overnight and may have killed a top Tunisian militant. U.S. officials say that Noureddine Chouchane was linked to last year’s attack on a museum in Tunis that killed 22 people. A Pentagon spokesman said he was spotted at a site near the town of Sabratha, close to the border with Tunisia.

PETER COOK, Pentagon Spokesman: This group, and this particular individual, who had — was named as a suspect previously in an attack in Tunisia, posed, again, a threat to Libya specifically, to interests in the region, and posed a national security threat to the United States.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Video of the aftermath showed the destruction, and the victims. Local officials said more than 40 people were killed, but the Pentagon could not confirm the number.

Israeli forces shot dead three more Palestinians today in an ongoing wave of violence. The Israeli military said one man rammed a car into Israeli troops in the West Bank town of Ramallah. Another fired on soldiers near Bethlehem. And a third stabbed and wounded two officers in Jerusalem. The near-daily attacks started last September.

European leaders say they have reached an agreement tonight that could keep Britain in the European Union. It came after a two-day summit in Brussels went into overtime. Prime Minister David Cameron said the deal gives Britain special status. The summit outcome could help Cameron win a summer referendum on remaining part of the E.U.

Vietnam and the Philippines are the latest to protest China’s placement of surface-to-air missiles in the South China Sea. The batteries are deployed on Woody Island in the Paracels. It is controlled by China, but also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan. The Chinese said today that they are acting in response to American actions.

HONG LEI, Spokesman, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (through interpreter): The U.S. has been continuously increasing its military presence in the South China Sea by sending out military aircraft and ships. The U.S. has repeatedly pressed on its alliance and partners to conduct joint military exercises. These actions have escalated the tensions, meaning more militarization in this region.

JUDY WOODRUFF: The U.S. has criticized China’s missile move, and said that it will continue to insist on freedom of navigation throughout the region.

In Uganda, voting turned to violence a day after the country’s presidential election. Angry protests broke out when the main opposition candidate was arrested again. Police fired tear gas and bullets into the air to disperse the crowds. The country’s president, Yoweri Museveni, has held power for 30 years.

Back in this country, the last of Louisiana’s Angola Three inmates was released after more than 40 years. Albert Woodfox and two others spent decades in isolation at state prisons in Angola and elsewhere. He was twice convicted of murder in the death of a prison guard, but the verdicts were overturned. Woodfox was awaiting a new trial when he agreed to plead no contest and go free at the age of 69.

The state of Oregon is headed towards the highest minimum wage in the country. A bill to raise the wage over six years won final approval Thursday. It is the first such measure to set pay by region. By 2022, Portland employees will earn $14.75 an hour, while workers in rural areas will make $12.50.

And Wall Street finished the week with mixed results. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 21 points to close at 16392. The Nasdaq rose nearly 17 points, and the S&P 500 was virtually unchanged.

Still to come on the “NewsHour”: why winning South Carolina is so important to the GOP candidates; Mark Shields and David Brooks take on a packed week of news; a dangerous journey for children seeking refuge in Greece with their families; and much more.