Justice Antonin Scalia returned to the institution he helped shape for the last three decades in a somber memorial procession. His casket arrived at the Supreme Court, where it will lie in repose as mourners pay their respects to the intellectual giant that defined New Originalism in his tenure there. Prior to that, CNN reports, the other justices will take part in a private memorial service led by Scalia’s son Paul, a Catholic priest:
The body of late Justice Antonin Scalia is lying in repose Friday morning inside the Supreme Court building where he built a legacy as as a conservative legal icon.
All the current Supreme Court justices are attending a private ceremony being led by Scalia’s son, Father Paul Scalia, underway in the Great Hall. President Barack Obama and the first lady are expected to visit the court later Friday to honor Scalia.
The casket was placed on the Lincoln Catafalque, which was loaned to the court by Congress for the ceremony, and a 2007 portrait of Scalia by Nelson Shanks will be displayed. Supreme Court police officers served as pallbearers while Scalia’s law clerks served as honorary pallbearers.
After the private ceremony, the public will be invited in from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. to view the casket. Hundreds have already gathered outside.
Fox is live-streaming the events through its Twitter stream, although it’s not clear how long that will continue (via Heavy):
WATCH LIVE: Justice Scalia's casket arrives at Supreme Court https://t.co/Mdy2UG9QTB
— Fox News (@FoxNews) February 19, 2016
The Associated Press lays out the agenda for the next two days:
President Obama is expected to show up at the Supreme Court later today with his family, but will not attend the funeral tomorrow. Ted Cruz will attend, despite his campaign initially saying that it might not be possible:
Ted Cruz will attend the funeral of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on Saturday, after his campaign previously said he would not be able to leave the campaign trail.
Cruz had hit President Barack Obama multiple times for planning to miss Scalia’s funeral, but his campaign said earlier Thursday that Cruz would be unable to participate.
Spokeswoman Alice Stewart told CNN that Cruz wanted to attend the funeral, but it will be “impossible” given his upcoming campaign schedule and Saturday’s Republican primary in South Carolina.
Later on Thursday, Stewart said Cruz would be at the service.
Finally, though, we have a chance to put aside the partisan war over Scalia’s death and focus on his life — and the great and necessary work he performed for American jurisprudence for almost 30 years. Earlier, I wrote in a column for The Week that there is a bitter irony in the overshadowing of Scalia’s work and death by the political battle to replace him, but that we need to find a way to focus on his towering achievements:
None of these solutions will work in a system where people lack the basic understanding of constitutional prerogatives on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, and in which the Supreme Court has eclipsed both Congress and the president in creating policy. Scalia, ironically, spent nearly three decades attempting to move the court back to a less activist model. Had that effort succeeded, it would have made his own passing remarkable in itself rather than a bugle call for both sides to divvy up the spoils.
Even with that, the epic breadth and depth of Scalia’s impact on American jurisprudence may take several more decades to be fully appreciated. At the moment, though, the nearly 30-year tit-for-tat judiciary battle between Republicans and Democrats only deepens the belief among voters that America’s institutions are failing its citizens, and that will be yet another reason for voters in both parties to look outside those institutions to make them work once more.
This gives us an opportunity to take a deep breath and thank the Lord for Scalia’s work. And after that, it’s time to continue it.