WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork/AP) — Mourners are paying their respects to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died last weekend at age 79.
Scalia’s flag-draped casket was carried into the Supreme Court, where his body is lying in repose on Friday. Supreme Court police served as pallbearers to carry the casket up the marble steps into the court’s Great Hall.
The procession passed between two long lines of Scalia’s former law clerks that stretched from the plaza to the court’s main entrance. Another group of 12 former clerks serving as honorary pallbearers followed.
PHOTOS: Scalia’s Body Lies In Repose
The procession then passed before the court’s eight current justices and the casket was placed on the Lincoln Catafalque. That’s the same platform on which President Abraham Lincoln’s coffin once rested at the Rotunda of the Capitol in 1865.
Once inside, Scalia’s son Paul, a Catholic priest, recited traditional prayers over his father’s casket. The court’s current justices and Scalia’s widow and nine children stood silently.
“God of faithfulness, in your wisdom you have called your servant Antonin out of this world,” Scalia’s son said.
Friends and court staff also watched the ceremony as Scalia’s former law clerks stood vigil by their former boss in a tradition most recently observed after the 2005 death of former Chief Justice William Rehnquist.
After the ceremony, the public was allowed in to view the body. Outside, the line of mourners stretched for nearly a block.
Emily Weatherspoon was the first person in line. The high school junior from North Carolina said she respected Scalia.
“He’s definitely someone who really stands up for what he believes in and sticks with what he thinks is right for our country,” she said.
Rhaleta and Kelvin Bernard of Queens, where Scalia grew up, had been visiting Washington and changed their bus ticket back so that they could pay their respects.
Rhaleta Bernard, a reading specialist, spoke of Scalia in present tense. She said Scalia “believes in interpreting the law not making the law.”
She said she would like to see “another Scalia” on the bench but said: “I don’t think there’s another one.”
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama also plan to pay their respects at the court Friday, but will not attend a funeral Mass on Saturday.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden will attend the funeral, saying Biden had a personal relationship with the Scalias.
The casket will be on public view Friday until 8 p.m. The funeral will be held Saturday at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington.
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