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Ginsburg remembered at Supreme Court as battle over her seat flares

Wednesday marked a somber day at the U.S. Supreme Court, where Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg lay in repose. Her former law clerks lined the building’s steps. Inside, her eight fellow justices gathered with family and friends to honor her contributions to the realm of American law and her personal spirit. Meanwhile, a political battle over her seat flares on Capitol Hill. Yamiche Alcindor reports.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    At the Supreme Court, eight justices gathered alongside family and friends of Ruth Bader Ginsburg to remember her life and the many years she spent on the bench.

    Yamiche Alcindor has our report.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    A somber day at the Supreme Court. Dozens of former law clerks for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg lined the steps to receive her remains in the building where she served for 27 years.

    Hundreds of others stood below to mourn her passing last Friday of pancreatic cancer, inside the court's Great Hall, a gathering of family and close friends. The flag-draped casket was laid on the funeral bier first used after President Abraham Lincoln's assassination.

    A rabbi opened with remarks honoring Ginsburg as a trailblazer and champion for women's rights.

  • Lauren Holtzblatt:

    To be born into a world that does not see you, that does not believe in your potential, that does not give you a path for opportunity or a clear path for education, and, despite this, to be able to see beyond the world you are in to imagine that something can be different, that is the job of a prophet.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    To the side, the court's remaining eight justices, together for the first time since March, paid their respects.

    In simple terms, Chief Justice John Roberts eulogized Ginsburg.

  • John Roberts:

    Tough, brave, a fighter, a winner, but also thoughtful, careful, compassionate, honest.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Reflecting on her ability to break through ideological barriers.

  • John Roberts:

    Many of you have seen the famous picture of Justice Scalia and Justice Ginsburg riding atop an elephant in India. And in the photograph, she is riding with a friend, a friend with totally divergent views. There is no indication in the photo that either was poised to push the other off.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    It's a spirit of collegiality that has largely vanished from the halls of Congress. Democrats today blasted Republicans for rushing to fill Ginsburg's seat before the November election. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer:

  • Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.:

    There is no, no, no precedent for confirming a Supreme Court justice between July and Election Day.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rejected accusations of hypocrisy. He already has the votes to push through the confirmation.

  • Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.:

    There is one right path before us. It does right by the judiciary, the Senate, the yet unnamed nominee, and the American people. It is a fair hearing, a fair process, and a fair vote.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Republican aides say hearings could start as soon as October 12, with a potential floor vote by Halloween, all this even without President Trump having yet named a nominee.

    Still, at the White House today, he was confident the process would move quickly. He noted his reelection could hinge on having nine justices on the bench.

  • President Donald Trump:

    This scam that the Democrats are pulling — it's a scam — the scam will be before the United States Supreme Court.

    But just in case it would be more political literature than it should be, I think it's very important to have a ninth justice.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Tomorrow, he plans to pay his respects to Ginsburg. Then, on Saturday, he plans to unveil his pick.

    Meanwhile, today, his Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, said again he will not be releasing his own list of potential nominees.

    Back at the court, Ginsburg's casket was on public view for most of the day. All day, hundreds, including lawmakers, stood in line to say goodbye. The late justice will lie in repose through tomorrow, before being moved to lie in state at the Capitol on Friday.

    A private burial is planned next week at Arlington National Cemetery.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Yamiche Alcindor.

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