News & Politics

Here's Why Justice Ginsburg Is Being Laid to Rest at a Military Cemetery

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg waves in acknowledgement of the applause she receives as she arrives for a "fireside chat" in the Bruce M. Selya Appellate Courtroom at the Roger William University Law School on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018, in Bristol, R.I. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

As the country reflects on the life of Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and considers the political ramifications of her passing, such as a mob surrounding Senate Judiciary Chair Lindsey Graham’s house, you might be surprised to learn that her final resting place will be Arlington National Cemetery.

Justice Ginsburg died from pancreatic cancer on Friday. According to tradition, flags at Supreme Court’s front plaza are lowered to half staff for the next 30 days. The Supreme Court  says Justice Ginsburg will lie in repose at the Supreme Court and then lie in state in the Capitol Building. She’s the first woman to lie in state at the Capitol.

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Her bench has been draped in black crepe and rosettes.

But her final resting place may be raising a few questions. Ginsburg is being interred at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia at a private service next week. She’s not a military veteran, but under the strict rules of the cemetery and at her request, Ginsburg is eligible to be buried at the largely military cemetery. Thirteen Supreme Court justices are buried there. She will be buried next to her husband, an Army veteran, who died in 2010.

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In addition to being a spouse of a military veteran, Ginsburg, of course, is allowed to be buried there because of her service on the Supreme Court. Stars and Stripes reports that the associate justice has also been a friend to the military, making her eligible for burial there.

In the case of United States v. Virginia in 1996, Ginsburg wrote the majority opinion striking down Virginia Military Institute’s traditional male-only admission policy. It was the last male-only public school in the country and it contemplated going private to avoid legal repercussions until the Defense Department threatened to pull ROTC programs from the school.

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Before becoming a judge, Ginsburg, representing the American Civil Liberties Union, argued the case of Frontiero v. Richardson before the Supreme Court in 1973. The landmark case decided service members cannot be given different benefits based on gender.

Arlington lists six exceptions in order to be buried at the famous last resting place with some of America’s brightest lights. Here are just three of them.

  1. The decedent’s specific military service (contributions and acts) that directly and substantially benefited the United States military.
  2. The decedent’s specific civilian service (contributions and acts) that directly and substantially benefited the United States military and demonstrates the manner and level of sacrifice or heroism typical of military service.
  3. Whether the decedent’s combined military and civilian service presents extraordinary circumstances that justify approving an exception to the policy.
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In the age of COVID-19, many loved ones have not been able to visit hospitals to see their loved ones or attend burials. They’re wondering why they can’t go to church but can go to Ginsburg’s remembrances.

In addition to the public viewings, thousands gathered outside the Supreme Court over the weekend and were not socially distancing.

Military.com reports that Arlington has begun reopening for visitors.

Arlington has begun reopening to the public in recent weeks, following a long closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Face masks and social distancing are required, and the most visited sites, including the gravesite of former President John F. Kennedy, are still off limits.

While the mob camps out in front of Senator Graham’s house and a new wave of riots is expected, it’s instructive to remember Ginsburg’s own words about filling a vacancy on the supreme court, as PJ Media colleague Matt Margolis reported.

“That’s their job,” she said in July 2016. “There’s nothing in the Constitution that says the President stops being President in his last year.”

“Eight is not a good number for a collegial body that sometimes disagrees,” Ginsburg said on the issue a few months later during an event at the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington.

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Four years ago, Democrats were united in calling for an immediate filling of the vacant Supreme Court seat. Here’s an entertaining flashback of Joe, Nancy, and Chuck explaining why naming a successor is of paramount importance.

But that’s was when President Obama was in office.

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